Many people complain that there are no interesting vegetables in winter. It’s true that the cold season has been dragging on for a while now and even I have started dreaming of Spring vegetables. However, there is still a lot of choice among seasonal produce – you just have to dare to try new ways of preparing it. This simple vegetable stir-fry with its hints of ginger, garlic and coriander may be inspired by Asian cuisine, but the vegetables in it are 100% local and I didn’t have to resort to buying mange-tout imported from Guatemala! Here I have used bog-standard European onions, leeks, carrots, broccoli and oyster mushrooms, but you could also try fennel, Chinese cabbage, shredded Brussels sprouts or kohlrabi. Serves 4.
2 tbsp coconut oil (health-food store) or olive oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 leeks (white parts), thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into small, bite-sized florets
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 2-mm slices
250 g oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped (= roughly 2 heaped tbsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2-3 tbsp water
The juice of ½ lime or lemon
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small, dry frying pan on moderate heat, lightly toast sesame seeds until they start to pop. Remove from heat, tip onto a plate and reserve.
In a wok or large frying pan, melt coconut or olive oil and cook onions, ginger and garlic for 1 minute, stirring. Add carrots and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add leeks, broccoli florets and water, shake pan gently and cover, steaming vegetables for 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue steaming, covered, for another 3-4 minutes. Test for doneness; the vegetables are ready when they are soft but still slightly ‘al dente’. Season to taste with tamari, lime/lemon juice, salt and pepper. Scatter with chopped coriander and sesame seeds and serve immediately.