Broccoli and Black Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce

Broccoli and Black Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce
Serves 4
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  1. 1 oz. Chinese dried black mushrooms
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 1/2 cup rice vinegar (cider vinegar will also work)
  4. 1 1/2 cups water
  5. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 6 medium-sized cloves garlic, coarsely minced
  9. 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less, to taste)
  10. 2 Tbl cornstarch
  11. 2 Tbl peanut or sesame oil
  12. 1 bunch broccoli (1 to 1 1/2 lbs), stems trimmed and shaved, cut in 2-inch
  13. spears
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 1 8-oz can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  16. 4-5 scallions, cut in half lengthwise, then in 1 1/2-inch pieces
  17. Start 2 cups brown rice.
  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl. Add boiling water, cover with a plate, and let stand at least 1/2 hour (preferably a whole hour). Drain the mushrooms, squeezing out all excess liquid. (You may wish to reserve the soaking water for soup stock). Remove and discard mushroom stems, and slice the caps in half.
  2. Combine the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, garlic, and red pepper in a bowl.
  3. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add some of the sauce, whisk until dissolved, then return this mixture to the rest of the sauce. Leave the whisk there; you'll need it again.
  4. Have all ingredients ready and within an arm's reach before starting the stir-fry. Place a medium-large wok over high heat for a minute or two. Then add the oil. After about a minute, add the broccoli. Salt it lightly, and stir-fry for several minutes over consistently high heat, until the broccoli is bright green.
  5. Add the black mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir-fry for a few minutes more.
  6. Whisk the sauce from the bottom of the bowl to re-integrate the cornstarch. Pour the sauce into the work, turn the heat down a little, and keep stir-frying over medium-high heat for another few minutes, or until the sauce thickens and coats everything nicely. Toss in the scallions during the last minute of cooking.
  7. Serve immediately over rice.
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