1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or purple onion
5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 to 2 thumb-size pieces galangal OR ginger, sliced into thin matchstick pieces
1/2 to 1 small fresh red chili, sliced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 medium-size carrot, sliced
5 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced or left in halves or quarters
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
2 to 3 cups baby bok choy, or other Chinese cabbage (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds)
handful fresh Thai basil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk
2+1/2 tablespoons fish sauce OR soy sauce if vegetarian/vegan
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
Combine ‘stir fry sauce’ ingredients together in a cup or bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste-test, keeping in mind that the first taste should be spicy-salty, followed by sweetness and the rich taste of the coconut milk. Adjust these flavors to suit your taste, adding more lime juice if too sweet or salty (note that it will be less salty when combined with the vegetables).
Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around, then add the shallot/onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, then add the carrot, mushrooms, and cauliflower (if using). Also, add 1/4 of the stir-fry sauce. Continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes.
Add the broccoli and red pepper plus enough sauce to gently simmer vegetables (about 2 minutes). Note: this is a ‘saucy’ stir-fry that is never dry – the sauce is meant to flavor the rice or noodles it is served with.
Finally, add the bok choy or Chinese cabbage. Add more of the stir-fry sauce as needed, almost enough to just cover vegetables in sauce. Simmer until bok choy or cabbage is cooked but still bright green with some crispness (2-3 minutes more).
Remove from heat and taste-test. If not salty enough, add a little more fish or soy sauce. If too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add more sugar or chili if desired. Top with fresh basil and serve over Thai jasmine rice or Thai Coconut Rice. Note: Any leftover sauce can be stored for 1 week in a covered container in your refrigerator for future stir-fries (see below for ideas).