August is the season for plump Mediterranean vegetables - courgettes*, peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and their like. I am a great fan of courgettes, but if they have a fault it’s that the plants never seem to know when to stop. So I'm always on the lookout for ways to use courgettes, preferably in some quantity. They stir-fry well, being quick to cook and ready to take up flavourings like garlic and soy sauce. I probably cook some variant of a courgette stir-fry about once a week in season.
Here’s a good basic recipe that’s both easy and quick. It's one of my standbys to cook after a long day at work, because once the ingredients are chopped dinner can be on the table in minutes. You can vary the ingredients according to taste and availability, e.g. it works well with pork or flash-fry beef steak instead of lamb. I happen to grow yellow courgettes, but it works just as well with the green kind.
Stir-fried lamb with courgettes* and peppers
7 oz (approx 200 g) leg of lamb. Leftover cold roast is ideal.
1 lb (approx 450 g) courgettes
Half a small onion, or 2-3 large salad onions
4 oz (approx 100 g) mushrooms
1 piece root ginger, approx 1” cube (approx 2.5. cm cube)
1 large clove garlic
2 Tblsp (2 x 15 ml spoon) dark soy sauce
2 Tblsp (2 x 15 ml spoon) dry sherry or rice wine
Cut the meat into thin slices.
Trim the ends off the courgettes and cut into slices if small, or into matchsticks if large.
Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into strips.
Peel and slice the mushrooms.
Peel and chop the onion, or slice the salad onions into rings.
Peel the root ginger and shred into fine strips.
Heat approx 1 Tblsp cooking oil in a wok or large frying pan.
Add the onion and ginger and stir-fry approx 1 minute.
Add the chopped lamb and stir-fry another minute.
Add the courgettes, pepper and mushrooms. Crush the garlic and stir in. Stir-fry another 2 minutes until the meat is cooked and the vegetables soft and starting to colour.
Stir in the soy sauce and sherry. Stir well to mix. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice or noodles.
*Called zucchini in North America and Australia