Homemade Stir-Fry Sauce
a refined sugar-free & soy-free recipe
We’ve just finished the Jewish High Holy days, with Yom Kippur last weekend, which also leaves me contemplating decisions and all the relationships in my life. Going to high holiday services alone is never easy but this year felt particularly hard as I watched a young couple with their two young daughters, one maybe just six months old, surrounded by their extended family. I wanted that so badly, and had it for a fleeting moment even if our extended families were so dysfunctional, but then again who’s family isn’t?
When Michael was alive, we acknowledged all of the Jewish holidays in a very relaxed, non-traditional way. I had a yearning to make sure our children knew their Jewish heritage even if it perplexed my Italian Catholic family, and even though we never attended services. Michael and I only went to a synagogue together three times—for a bat mitzvah, a wedding, and a tot shabbat that friends invited us to. We never actually attended services together. His relationship with Judaism was very conflicted like many Jews I know.
On the second day of Rosh Hashanah services this year, I found myself wondering if I would still be on this same path, Judaism carrying such relevance in my life if Michael were still alive. Would we have made this journey together? I’d like to believe we would’ve. He was a spiritual person who found deep comfort in Buddhist readings and principles. Reconstructionist Judaism, the congregation I belong to, reminds me a lot of Buddhism at the core.
I think if Michael had had the chance to experience the Woodstock Jewish Congregation he would’ve seen there was indeed a place for those who identify with their Jewish heritage but also know faith alone cannot guide one’s decisions. We must always keep questioning, keep refining the way we see and experience life.
There’s no good way to segway from such deep thoughts to a recipe for stir-fry sauce but here I am, doing just that. As you may know from previous posts I’ve been all over the place with dietary modifications to try and understand some health issues. It’s frustrating to have blood test after blood test show everything looks okay on paper when you still feel rather cruddy in your own skin. I went down the gluten-free rabbit hole for a third time in the last few years, and it didn’t seem to make a deep enough impact to be worth the major change, mainly when it comes to bread and pasta.
What I did find out conclusively though is my Hashimoto’s diagnosis about six months ago, though it’s subclinical and not affecting my thyroid yet. There’s some extreme suggestions for dietary changes, and in the same way faith doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and is not one size fits all, the same can be said for dealing with diet and health. Two changes that did seem to have a positive benefit for me were reducing refined sugars and removing soy from my diet.
Refined sugars were easy to reduce since I’ve leaned towards maple syrup and honey for years now. The farmers’ market in Great Barrington has a wonderful maple syrup stand where I was able to buy maple sugar in bulk, too.
Soy has been harder because it’s everything, and it meant giving up tofu which I not only loved but was a staple in my mostly vegetarian diet. I made the switch from tamari and soy sauce to coconut amino acids ( I love Big Tree Farms brand), and have since been making a lot of my own sauces from scratch since most store-bought ones contain soy sauce and sugar.
The stir-fry sauce below has become a staple in my house. Virginia loves it on everything, so I make a batch every couple of weeks. Use it as you would in any recipe that calls for stir-fry or teriyaki sauce, or just toss it on some grilled, roasted or sauteed veggies and meats. I also love it simply drizzled over fried eggs with a bowl of rice or quinoa. —xo, j.