Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicken Stir-fry...easy and fresh

I'd like to share my chicken stir-fry recipe. It's a super easy recipe, budget-friendly, healthy and delicious! When I make it, I don't measure ingredients; it's really up to you what proportions of vegetables you use. The important part of this recipe is the technique.

So...the important things:
  1. HIGH heat
  2. Large skillet works best (the woks aren't ideal because they are designed for a commercial heating element which has a big big ring of fire)
  3. Cut your vegetables not in chunks...but in smaller pieces, like slices
  4. Get yourself a good knife. It makes a difference...trust me.
Ingredients (again, this will vary depending on what you like. I'll list what I typically use. I suggest that if you've never done this before, try my combination and then next time modify it based on what you liked/didn't like):
  • Chicken breast - if it's frozen, thaw it out. If it's left slightly frozen, it's easier to slice. I usually use just one chicken breast when I make stir-fry for my family of four but I also usually make another dish as well. If you want extra for leftovers, use two chicken breasts
  • Vegetables:
  • Yellow onion - cut the ends off, then cut in half. Put the flat end down on the cutting board then slice from side to side (not from the end to end - you don't want big half circles)
  • Green onion - maybe a couple and then cut in 1 inch or smaller pieces
  • Broccoli - I just put in a few pieces per family member - not a whole lot. Cut in small or thinner pieces
  • Baby Bok Choy - this is a Chinese vegetable that is mild and is good for you (being that it's a dark leafy green). Buy just a couple 'bunches' then cut the end off so they are loose and rinse them
  • Carrots and Celery - peel the carrot. Slice these so that they are thin, on the diagonal. I just add usually one rib of celery and one carrot. The celery is for flavor and the carrot is for color
  • Bell pepper - I might use 1/4 of the pepper just for color (if I have red) and flavor - slice in thin strips
Those are the basic vegetables. Here are some more. Basically, you can use whatever is in your fridge - there's no rule:
  • Asparagus - rinse and make 2" slices on the diagonal
  • Kale - rinse and chop up (I've never used kale, but my neighbor does)
  • Green beans or snap peas or snowpeas - rinse, take the strings off and slice on the diagonal. You can leave snap and snow peas whole too
  • Broccoli slaw - I've stir-fried just the broccoli slaw without meat and it was good too
  • whatever vegetable you like - just cut in slices (general rule). But, don't use potatoes or tomatoes or artichokes...lol
  1. Cut the chicken into thin slices first. I set the breast down so it's long from left to right, then start slicing into thin slices (1/4 inch or less). After the chicken is sliced, I cut the slices in half so they are more or less bite-sized. 
  2. Put the chicken in a bowl and add a sprinkle of cornstarch - perhaps a spoonful, depending on how much chicken you have. Sprinkle salt, pepper (optional) and some soy sauce-just a sprinkle (optional). Mix it together with your fingers so all the chicken has the seasoning on it. Set aside
  3. Cut your veggies. If you wanted to do this super quick, you can purchase pre-cut vegetables, but I don't recommend buying frozen vegetables or the frozen stir-fry mixes. I keep old pie tins handy and just cut the veggies and put them all together in the pie tin so they are ready to throw in to the pan. The exception is to keep the onions by themselves.
  4. If you want to add extra flavor with garlic cloves, get a couple and slice and cut them up. You don't need to mince them - just slicing will suffice. Add the garlic to the plate you have your onions on. Those both will go in first.
  5. When all your veggies are cut up, start heating up your pan. Turn the heat on high and let it heat up before you add the oil.
  6. Add oil - you don't need a lot - perhaps about 2 nice tablespoons. Swish it around the pan.
  7. Add the onions and garlic and stir it around and keep stirring so the garlic doesn't burn - before the garlic turns brown (within about 10-15 seconds of stirring the onions/garlic) add your chicken. You are going to use a spatula or wooden spoon and stir fry the chicken and onions until the chicken is almost done. 
  8. When the chicken is almost done (it will be all white and will be a little firm) toss in all the cut up vegetables. Keep stir-frying...mix and stir it up. You want to keep everything moving... When the broccoli and carrots are cooked then it's pretty much done. (That's why you don't want to have the broccoli too big) You can add a sprinkling of salt and soy sauce now and stir it around before you plate it.
Serve with steamed rice (the Chinese use Cal-rose or short grain rice, which sticks together). 

I'll post tips on heating up steamed rice next... enjoy the stir-fry!

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