Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Make the vibrant colours of your vegetables stay: Stir-fry Broccoli with mushrooms

Recently I have been visiting Farmers Markets almost everyday to get fresh produce. This farmers market is a community initiative in Massachusetts to support local farmers and get locals to consume locally grown, harvest and produced food. It varies from vegetables, flowers, meat, seafood, chocolates, bakery and wine. These produce are mainly organic and fresh. However this only last from summer to fall.

Being in another country, I find that there are many things people can step forward and contribute. In this case of farmers market initiative, people come together to help the community and its people to live healthily and happily. I wonder such thing can work in Singapore?

So I bought some broccoli from the farmers market. They were so beautiful, bursting in the different shades of green. Some of us have this problem that our vegetables lose its natural vibrancy after cooking?


Let me share with you the technique called "Blanching".

From wikipedia: Blanching is a cooking process wherein the food substance, usually a vegetable or fruit, is plunged into boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocked) to halt the cooking process.


This blanching process actually helps to saturate the colours of the vegetables and hence green vegetables look greener and orange/ red vegetables look more vibrant.

But that's not the end. After blanching the vegetables into boiling water, you need to quickly 'shock' them in an ICE bath. And then into your hot wok/pan to cook. This thermal shock will fix the colour pigments in the vegetables.

Stir-fry Broccoli with Mushrooms

Recipe for 2 servings

Ingredients
1 small crown of broccoli, cut into smaller bouquets
4 fresh brown mushrooms, cut into slices
1 small garlic, chopped
1 tbsp of cooking oil
1/2 tbsp of Oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp of light soya sauce
Water and ice
Salt and pepper

Steps
  1. Prepare a pot of water to boil. Add 1 tsp of salt into the water. The salt will help to flavour your vegetables (optional).
  2. Prepare a basin water with ice. Make sure there is sufficient water for the vegetables to be soak thoroughly in it and the water is real cold for the ice bath.
  3. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli into it. After about 20 seconds, remove it. Do not worry about undercooking the vegetables as you will fry them again later.
  4. Quickly put the broccoli into the basic of ice water. Soak them for at least 5 minutes.
  5. As the broccoli is taking its ice bath, heat up a wok/ pan.
  6. Add cooking oil.
  7. When the wok is heated up, add in chopped garlic. Stir well to prevent burning.
  8. When the garlic is light golden brown, add mushrooms. Stir lightly.
  9. Quickly, drain the broccoli and add them into the wok. (You can drain the broccoli prior frying)
  10. Add in the seasoning and 1 tbsp of water.
  11. Fry for 2-3 minutes in high heat.
  12. Remove and serve.
You can observe that the colours stay vibrant! It will be better if you can serve on a white plate as the contrast is more distinct.