From Scratch, With Love

Delicious Stir-Fry

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So, I decided this week it would be cheap and healthy to buy those chicken breast in bulk things that they sell at the supermarket.  3.5 pounds of chicken breast.  I know it would have been cheaper to get bone-in chicken breast or a whole chicken, and please don’t hold this against my personal “from scratch” philosophy, but I did have a really fat weekend in Providence (<3) and I thought that a week of chicken breast would be a good call.  So far it has been.  Here’s what I did.  5 of the breasts were roasted in the oven.  One of those was used on a summer salad yesterday.  One and a half of them was sliced very thinly and put in a container to eat for lunch with pita bread and hummus (much cheaper than deli chicken!).  One will be used on another salad tomorrow night.  I haven’t quite planned out the other 1.5 roasted breasts yet.  Two of them I did not roast and instead made into this delicious stir-fry.

Nice colors, huh?

I came home a little early today, dreaming of cake.  See, for some reason I decided to bring my cake book on the train with me this morning to read and got inspired to make cake.  However, there would be far too much cake for me to eat in my current post-Providence state, so I settled for David Lebovitz’s Banana-Blueberry Sorbet (which I’m eating right now, mmmm).  And then I decided to take the stir-fry I had planned for tonight to the next level by really marinating the chicken, since I had a good hour and a half before John got home.  I ended up with the most delicious stir-fry of my life.

The marinade I used is one I found in the White Dog Cafe Cookbook.  They call it “Spicy Asian Marinade.”  I really liked it, partially because it meant I could use up some of the dry sherry I bought accidentally, thinking it was cream sherry.  Blech.  The recipe called for chili paste, which I didn’t have, so I used red pepper flakes.  THEN, I used the same basic ingredients from the marinade to make a stir-fry sauce to pour over everything at the end of the stir-fry.  The result was a dish that was very flavorful, but not overly saucy.  So, basically perfect.

Andrea’s Perfect Chicken Stir-Fry (Serves two)

In a small bowl, stir together

1/4 cup soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
1/4 cup dry sherry (you can also use cooking sherry, white wine, rice wine, or white/ rice vinegar)
1/4 cup water
A clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onion, thinly sliced

While you’re mincing garlic, I recommend mincing one more clove for the stir-fry sauce, and thinly slicing another clove for the stir-fry itself.  Also, grate an extra teaspoon of ginger, and then thinly slice some ginger as well (about half of the amount of garlic you sliced).  You can place the sliced garlic and ginger in a small bowl, since you’ll be adding them to the stir-fry together.  While you’re preparing for later, slice 2 more green onions into 1/4 inch pieces.

Stir the sauce together so that everything’s combined, then add 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, sliced into thin slices, about 1 inch x 2 inches long.  The goal is for them to be bite-sized, but not so small that they cook too quickly.  It is also important to have them about the same size so they cook evenly.  Coat the chicken in the sauce, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

While you’re marinating the chicken, prepare your stir-fry ingredients.  Here’s what I used:

1/2 white onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced (from before)
1/2 teaspoon sliced ginger (from before)
1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized florets
2 cups snow peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 green onions, sliced (from before)

Other ideas could include:

Baby corn
Sliced water chestnuts
Mushrooms
Celery
Cabbage
Carrots
Bean Sprouts

Next, make your stir-fry sauce.

In a small bowl, combine

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In another small bowl, combine 1/2 cup water with 1 teaspoon corn starch.  Stir until corn starch is dissolved.

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic (from earlier) and cook, stirring, until quite fragrant, but not quite brown.  Add the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Add the corn starch mixture.  Stir for about a minute or two or until the sauce begins to thicken.  Pour back into the bowl you mixed it in.

The important thing to remember when stir-frying, is that you want to add ingredients in batches, so as to not crowd the pan, and you want to cook ingredients in order of cooking time, so that they are all finished at the same time.  I usually cook the meat first, then remove it to a bowl to cook the vegetables, then add the meat back in at the end.  This way the meat is sure to be cooked through, but it won’t overcook.

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready.  If you’re serving the stir-fry with rice, the rice should be just about done (I like to serve it with brown rice).

Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes until very hot.  Add the chicken, trying not to let too much of the marinade into the pan (it will burn).  Cook, stirring, until the chicken is no longer pink.  Remove to a large bowl.

Dump out any sauce or fat that remains in the pan.  Heat another tablespoon of peanut oil over high heat.  Add the onions and red pepper (and celery and cabbage).  Cook, stirring, for about a minute until the onion is translucent, but not browned.  Add the sliced garlic and ginger.  Stir for another minute.  Add the broccoli (and mushrooms or water chestnuts) and stir for another minute.  Add the snow peas and the corn (and baby corn and carrots) and the sauce, give it all a quick stir, and then cover and let the vegetables steam for 30 seconds to a minute.  Uncover and stir.  The vegetables should be a little soft, but still brightly colored.  Add the chicken and the green onions (and bean sprouts).  Keep stirring, coating all the vegetables in sauce, then decant the stir-fry into a large bowl.  Serve hot, with rice or noodles.

You could also make this using pork, beef, or shrimp.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I think they would all be delicious in their own way.  Let me know how it works out.

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Written by poperatzii

July 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

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