One of the first tips that I got when I started studying plant magic was to get a few staples down pat. I mean, I could always summon a fireball, or conjure a knife, but putting dinner together? That requires some special trick!
One of the earliest plant-magic tricks I studied was whipping up a delicious stir fry from scratch. Most people insist on grated ginger, garlic, 70 other ingredients you don’t have or recognize, and deep, powerful magic to put a complex and interesting sauce together. To top it off, of course you need the unpronounceable mushrooms and exotic nuts and special herbs…
Really, it doesn’t need to be quite that hard. This might sound extra lazy, but I am absolutely willing to cheat with my stir fry sauce, using just hoisin, soy, and hot sauce. Not a homemade hoisin, either, just that sweet and spicy stuff they sell at grocery stores. Maybe you have a knack for potions and can whip up something equally satisfying from raw ingredients and sheer force of will. After my first three attempts turned local villagers into purple, puppy-sized elephants, I gave up looking.
One of the primary advantages of a stir fry is that it can be done quickly. Chop the 1st set of veggies, then saute those while working chopping the 2nd. Add those, then stir. If you’re willing to plan ahead, get your chopping done in advance. Group chopped veggies into “step one veggies” and “step two veggies” and just dump them in when the time is right!
Fresh brown rice is nice, but not required. Leftover or frozen works. Noodles suffice if you’re in a pinch, or use quinoa or millet if you’re feeling adventurous! Consider making this kung pao a cantrip- something tasty, satisfying, and EASY!
Kung Pao (+2 mana, +4 health, +4 stamina)
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded, diced (I cut off the tips, then cut the “meat” off the sides, leaving a square column of seeds I discard- the seeds get mushy when you add much heat!) ~1 cup
- 1 cup diced carrot (2 medium)
- 1 cup diced celery (2-3 stalks)
- 1 can diced water chestnuts, drained
- ¼ cup peanuts
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 Tablespoons Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha to taste/as needed (can be added afterwards easily!!)
- Szechuan pepper, or black pepper to taste
- Cooked Brown Rice (to serve over)
- Additional/alternate ingredients- diced radishes, chopped bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, diced brussels sprouts, diced mushrooms, diced zucchini… really any- just add these with the water chestnuts in the recipe! (our favorite is all the original ingredients, plus radishes, shredded cabbage, and brussels sprouts!)
- Sautee cucumber, carrots, garlic, and celery in sesame oil and roughly half of hoisin sauce until carrots start to soften, around 5-7 minutes.
- Add water chestnuts (and any alternate veg) as well as remaining hoisin sauce, Braggs/soy sauce, Sriracha, and pepper. This is a saucy dish, so there should be some excess liquid! Cook for another 5-7 minutes until everything is well coated in sauce, and the sauce starts to bubble. Adjust if things like cabbage or brussels sprouts require some extra time to cook all the way through!
- Add peanuts, mix well to coat. Cook an additional minute, then serve over rice!