Celery. We take it for granted, don’t we? It adds crunch to potato salads, and flavor to chicken stock and turkey stuffing; it’s ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. That’s why I was intrigued when I saw a recipe for celery stir-fry in my friend Nancy Hachisu’s Japanese Farm Food cookbook, a simple celery stir-fry with chili infused oil and soy sauce. Such a simple preparation, and so so good. Try it!
We found the best way to julienne the celery is to slice off the root end and any part of the celery beyond the main stalk. Cut the stalks in thirds, or if they are very long, quarters, and then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise. This gives you a manageable, flat surface to slice into matchsticks. Nancy's original recipe calls for using a high quality rapeseed oil (another name for canola oil) and/or light sesame oil. We added a little dark sesame oil at the finish which was just lovely, so you might want to try that too.
- 2 Tbsp high quality rapeseed oil (canola oil) or light sesame oil
- 3 dried chile peppers, broken in half
- 4 cups julienned celery
- 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
Heat the oils and chiles in a wok or frying pan over high heat for 90 seconds, or until the chiles become fragrant and the seeds sizzle. Add the celery and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry one more minute. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Yield:Serves 6 as a side dish.
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