For this vegetarian Vietnamese stir-fry, featuring asparagus, cauliflower and bell pepper, Marcia Kiesel substitutes soy sauce for the more traditional fish sauce. Lemongrass, basil and coconut milk make the dish fragrant and slightly sweet.
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (4 cups)
12 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Rice, for serving
How to Make It
In a mini food processor, finely chop the lemongrass.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the lemongrass and shallots and stir-fry over high heat until the shallots are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower, asparagus, carrots and red bell pepper along with 1/2 cup of the water; cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, soy sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Stir in the basil and bean sprouts. Transfer the stir-fried vegetables to bowls and serve with rice.
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