I whipped together this early summer stir-fry with grilled asian shrimp last night because: hot days + warm nights.
I also needed a reason to use a WHOOOOOOLE BUNCH of my CSA box veggies. AND…
I wanted to eat light and clean and cook outdoors. AND…
I wanted to eat something with a bit of a spice kick to help me cool off.
It wasn’t even that hot. It was pleasant. But summer eating is summer eating. And I’m here to embrace it.
It’s that time of year where i’m already wondering how to use up all my CSA veggies. This week I dove in with excitement — and streaked with joy when i saw the sugar snap peas (my fave) and bok choy. Oh what would i do with them?!
A summer stir-fry obviously. With spiralized veggie noodles, obviously.
For years I didn’t eat stir-fry’s. And to this day they are not my go-to. Too many years of being a vegetarian — and in the 90’s, when all anyone could think to make was a stir-fry.
Stir-fry. Stir-fry. Oooo it’s Friday night — let’s make a stir-fry.
It’s not just the stir-fry madness that got me down. It was all that soy. Soy sauce and hunks of tofu or tempeh. It took me many years to recognize my body’s distaste for soy-anything. I’d lay crouched over for hours with sharp stomach pain — that was only relieved by intense tooting. It came on gradually over the years, but suddenly my body was intolerant to anything soy. Including soy sauce.
Soy is not a health food. That much has been proven (in countless studies). When properly fermented and consumed in SMALL AMOUNTS, it can be just fine for some (not usually me). If your thyroid is wack-a-doodle — then I’d stay away from it no matter what.
These days I reside myself to:
- Not eating any of it
- Preparing myself for a tad bit of pain and/or gas
- Tackling full-on and being fine (usually based on my hormone cycle)
- Sticking with the highly fermented (miso) in tiny amounts
- Substituting the soy part with something else (coconut aminos, meat, other legumes)
So there you have it. Last night I went for it. All I had in my cupboard was Tamari (a Japanese wheat-free version soy sauce, which typically has a deeper, richer, yummier flavour — and is a byproduct of miso) — but typically I sub in coconut aminos for that umami-salty flavour.
I just know, if i’m going to celebrate an early summer stir-fry veggies with grilled asian shrimp, I’ve got to include those CSA treasures: sugar snap peas and bok choy. Both may be mild tasting vegetables, but they’re crunchy and subtle and sweet. YUUUUUUM.
Because I refuse to use a burner in the summer, I rarely cook things like rice or traditional noodles. This means I get to sub in those things with vegetables. I KNOW it’s not the same. I know. But the spiralized craze is real and I’m all over it.
Last night I chose to spiralize carrots as noodles, and combine them with kelp noodles. Spiralizing carrot just gives the carrot a more interesting texture and it cooks a lot faster, too.
Have you ever given kelp noodles a try? They’re AWE-SOME. They’re essentially a super grain-free option made from iodine-rich kelp seaweed, with less of the iodine benefits as regular ol’ kelp. They’re crunchy and yummy and you can eat them raw or heated up. I love them because I can throw them in anything for an added bit of texture, and they soak up whatever sauce I’ve created (in this case a simple asian stir-fry sauce).
So I did all of this on my outdoor grill. I transferred the wok to the burner element on the barbecue so I could avoid cooking inside. If you have or choose to use air conditioning then this may not be necessary. But I’m all about keeping things cool naturally, if I can.
Summer Stir-fry with Grilled Asian Shrimp
Grilled Asian Shrimp
- 1/2 pound (preferably colossal) shrimp (deveined, not peeled, big)
- enough Asian Stir-fry Sauce & Marinade (recipe below) to submerge shrimp
- Place shrimp in a bowl and pour marinade over. Let sit for 20 minutes, or up to a couple hours.
- If using smaller sized shrimp, thread them onto skewers before grilling.
- Heat barbecue on high. When stir-fry is just about done, grill shrimp about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Do not overcook.
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 fat carrot, spiralized on smallest setting
- half red onion, sliced into giant slivers
- 1 bell pepper, chopped big
- handful sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 2 giant handfuls of baby bok choy (left whole)
- half pack kelp noodles, cut in half with scissors
- handful wilting greens (optional)
- OPTIONAL TOPPING: fresh Thai basil, toasted sesame seeds, toasted slivered almonds
- Chop veggies up ahead. Heat a wok with oil over a burner (indoors or outdoors) on high heat.
- Begin with the spiralized carrot and red onion. Add to the wok and fry, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Add the bell pepper and snap peas and cook another few minutes.
- Add bok choy, kelp noodles, greens and 1/4 cup of the Asian Stir-fry Sauce & Marinade, with the added water and cornstarch. Stir and heat thoroughly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, and the greens and bok choy are wilted. Top with optional additions if desired. Serve with delicious grilled shrimp.
Asian Stir-fry Sauce & Marinade
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small hunk fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp sambal olek
- 1/4 cup Tamari, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp avocado or peanut oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 – 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp raw sugar or honey
- 2 or 3 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- In a small bowl, combine everything but the water and cornstarch.
- Divide sauce into half. Use one half for the shrimp marinade. Use the other half for the stir-fry.
- Just before adding the sauce to the stir-fry, whisk in the cornstarch and water.