Okay, time to momentarily become a food blogger.
This is a vegetarian stir-fry with some tasty, tasty flavours. I adapted it from a New York Times lamb-based recipe with added inspiration from something I once ate at Rangoli. Here is what you will need:
- 5 fresh Thai red chillis
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp sugar
- An encouragingly non-specific amount of salt
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 portabello mushrooms, thickly sliced
- peanut oil, some
- 1 finely chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup Shaoxing rice wine (you could use cooking sherry in a pinch, but ugh)
- 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
- Jasmine rice
Here is what you will have to do in order to make this delicious thing:
- Make the rice. I’m not going to give you specific instructions because you are not a child. On the other hand, if you are a child, do it like this.
- Cut and partially un-seed 5 Thai red chillis. (Leave more seeds if you want the dish spicy, less if you prefer it mild.) Grind in a mortar and pestle. Add 1 clove garlic; grind that as well. Add 1 tsp sugar, a dash of salt and 1 tsp vinegar. Grind into a paste. (Credit for this paste goes to this recipe. Except I use 5 Thai chillis instead of 10, because I’m not ready to die.)
- Toast 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, 1 tbsp cumin seeds in a wok over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until the smell makes you want to press your face into the wok. (Do not do this.) Grind finely in 2 batches in a mortar and pestle. (Doing it all at once requires too many muscles.) Add 1 tsp of cumin powder and a dash of salt.
- Put chopped red bell pepper and 2 sliced portabellos in a large mixing bowl, and dampen with a bit of peanut oil. Pour in spice mix, and toss until coated.
- Heat a wok to high heat, coat with about 2 tbsp of peanut oil. Sauté 1 finely chopped onion for a minute. Add chilli paste, mix. Add seasoned portabellos and peppers. Sauté until desired firmness. About 2 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup each of soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine. Remove from heat when about half of the liquid remains.
- Add 2 cups finely chopped cilantro, with stems. Serve over rice.
I paired it with a sweet-ish Pinot Grigio, but I’d say it would go well with any not-too-dry white. Long live stir-fry!