Thursday, April 21, 2011

Okinawan Stir-Fry

 If you are into nutrition, you might already know that Okinawa is hailed as one the most healthy diets in the world. This is no surprise when you realise that the Okinawan diet continues to be a traditional indiginous diet. If I had my way, everyone would be consuming some kind of indigenous diet, and there wouldn't be any question about what the science says about omega-3 fatty acids or polyphenols. Or if this canned soup is better than that canned soup.

This recipe comes from a book called "The Jungle Effect." Dr. Daphne Miller has the recipes from the book online, but you should definitely check the book out! Apparently, Okinawans eat about 7-10 % fat in their diet. The American Dietary Guidelines call for about triple that, so it is quite a difference. What was most interesting to me, was that their carbohydrates were very high, not because they eat a lot of rice, but because of they eat the Japanese sweet potato, a purple skinned, white-middled sweet potato. They eat virtually no sugar or processed food.

Anatomy of this dish: I like this recipe because you can use virtually any vegetables you have lying around, and the longest part is cutting the vegetables, so it's quick. I always feel so great eating this many vegetables at once! The turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, so don't leave that out. It only calls for 2 tablespoon oil for 6 cups of vegetables - wow! I try to avoid salting because the miso is nice and salty, and as much as salt is magically tasty, your taste buds should try and do some work now and again. It will be good for your heart.

Okinawan Stir-Fry adapted from "The Jungle Effect"
2 tablespoons sake or water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey
1/4 to 1⁄3 cup miso paste
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1⁄4 pound cooked pork shoulder or chicken thinly sliced (optional)
1 block extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
6 cups chopped vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower zucchini, eggplant, carrots, fennel bulb, onions, daikon, cabbage,  or bok-choy)
4 scallions or chives, chopped (I usually don't have them lying about so they are optional here)
1 egg, beaten

Mix the miso, water, vinegar, and honey together in a very large bowl that will accommodate the rest of the ingredients from the stir-fry. Set aside. Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet on medium-high heat - add the meat, if you are using it, and the tofu. Add the turmeric and stir ingredients to coat. Once it is heated through, add it to the miso mixture.

Add another tablespoon oil to the now empty skillet. Add the vegetables that will take longer to cook, like the broccoli, carrots, etc. Cook them on medium-high for a few minutes, stirring a few times. Then add the other vegetables. Sometimes I do this in batches since my pan is not big enough for all of them. The vegetables should not be overcooked. Slightly crunchy is good! Add the scallions. Crack the egg into the vegetables and stir it in until it is all cooked. Add the vegetables to the miso mixture and stir to coat. This is good with the Jushi Rice she lists on page 50.