Nowadays, I still rely on stir-fry when time is tight and ingredients are low. They’re incredibly quick, infinitely protean, and skimping on oil doesn’t make a crazy difference in the taste. Their one drawback is the cost of semi-decent sauces. The cheap ones are full of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. The expensive ones are … well, expensive.
Enter Cook’s Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe, a cookbook I swore to back away from for awhile. (I lied.) On page 102, the editors have a five-recipe list of stir-fry sauces you can make from everyday kitchen staples. A few weeks ago, I highlighted the Sweet and Sour variety (also good for dipping!) Last night, I tried the Orange Sesame, which shall henceforth be called “Awesome Sauce,” a la Tenacious D.
Here’s how it went: first, I steamed 2/3rd cup broccoli in a shallow pan for about 4 minutes, until they were crisp-tender. (The water had evaporated, so there was no need to drain.) Then, over medium heat, I added a ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil and sautéed ¼ teaspoon of grated ginger and ¼ teaspoon of minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Finally, a ¼ cup of Awesome Sauce went in. It took about three minutes to thicken, but when it did …
My apartment still smells like a high-class Chinese joint, which is very different from the coffee-and-dust scent it usually sports. The Boyfriend gave Awesome Sauce a wide-eyed “Mm!” of approval as well, and it’s definitely on the short list for V-Day this Thursday. Plus? One serving costs a grand total of $0.19. I’m over the moon.
In the coming weeks, I’ll really, honest-to-goodness attempt to put the CI book down (even though we tried the Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken, and it, too, transcends mere food). So, you can expect recipes from other places. Like …
Or maybe …
And then there’s …
Okay. No promises.
Orange-Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce
Makes enough for 4 servings of stir-fry (1 lb protein + 1-1/2 lbs vegetables)
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe.
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (I used regular sesame oil and it worked well. – Kris)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1) Mix all ingredients. In a bowl. Thoroughly. With a whisk, if you like. Add it towards the end of any stir-fry and heat to thicken. You won't be sorry.
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
53 calories, 2.5 g fat, $0.19
½ cup orange juice: 55 calories, 0 g fat, $0.16
¼ cup soy sauce: 34 calories, 0 g fat, $0.38
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth: 22 calories, 0.75 g fat, $0.06
2 teaspoons toasted (or regular – Kris) sesame oil: 80 calories, 9 g fat, $0.12
2 teaspoons cornstarch: 20 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
TOTAL: 211 calories, 9.75 g fat, $0.74
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 53 calories, 2.5 g fat, $0.19