Amanda Cohen's Secret Weapon Stir-Fry Sauce (for Vegetable Fried Rice & More)

By • June 2, 2015 14 Comments

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Author Notes: This sauce is a secret weapon in more ways than you'd expect. First, it's a quick way of shuttling all of your faltering greens and herbs and desiccated nubs of ginger out of their holding pens and into the future. Squirrel the ice cubes away in your freezer and you can have a vividly flavored fried rice or stir-fry anytime without washing or chopping or peeling—or even defrosting. Though Cohen likes it best for dispatching lingering containers of take-out rice, "It's adaptable for any grain, really," she says—anywhere you want "a really big, bright green blast." Adapted slightly from Dirt Candy and The New York Times .Genius Recipes


Serves 2, with plenty of leftover stir-fry sauce

Vegetable Fried Rice

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup trimmed and quartered brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup diced fennel
  • 2 cups chopped chard
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 4 cups leftover rice, loosely packed (about 1 large, quart-size carton or 2 small pint-size cartons)
  • 4 frozen cubes (or 4 tablespoons fresh) Secret Weapon Stir-Fry Sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar, to taste
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  1. Heat sesame oil and canola oil in a large pan or a wok over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the vegetables and stir constantly until they have started to soften and brown, about 4 minutes.
  2. Toss in the rice, and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the clumps. Some of the rice will stick to the pan, but don’t panic. The older and drier the rice, the longer this takes. If it starts sticking a lot, add a dash of rice wine vinegar or water. Keep stirring until the rice softens and becomes slightly translucent.
  3. Add the frozen Stir-Fry Sauce cubes, and keep stirring as they melt and coat the rice. Transfer the rice into a bowl and season to taste with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, or hot sauce, or all four.

Secret Weapon Stir-Fry Sauce

  • 2/3 cup cilantro
  • 2/3 cup parsley
  • 2/3 cup Thai basil (or substitute regular basil)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  1. Tear all the stems off the herbs and spinach. (No need to be exact, just rip off most of them.)
  2. Blanch the cilantro, parsley, Thai basil, and spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. As soon as they turn bright green, take them out and drop them into a bowl of ice water.
  3. Take the greens out of the ice bath and shake off excess water (but leave the greens wet). Put them into a blender or small food processor with the garlic and ginger. Blend until you have a smooth, dark green purée. If it’s too thick, add a little water to keep it moving, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Pour purée into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. To use in fried rice, add a few cubes to the pan once the vegetables and any other protein are cooked and the rice is translucent; keep stirring as the cubes melt and coat the rice. Season and serve.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Entrees|Fennel|Basil|Fish