Cumin chilli portabello stir-fry

Stir fry

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add ¼ cup each of soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine. Remove from heat when about half of the liquid remains.
  7. 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!

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