Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chinese Chicken Stir Fry 101

I have made hundreds of stir fries since I first stepped into the kitchen with a wok in hand.  I love a good stir fry because it is a quick and easy one pot meal.   In my quest for learning as much as I can about stir fries I have come to use a lot of ingredients such as hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese rice wine, etc...   I also know that some of you don't have these ingredients always on hand or have a hard time getting them in the area or country that you live.  So I decided I owe my friends on the blog a basic stir fry with the easiest ingredients most any of can get their hands on.   This stir sauce is a simple 6 ingredient power house.  Although it is basic, don't let that fool you about the flavor.  The flavor knocked my family's socks off.  I know I will make this stir fry again and again because it was easy and so amazing. So if you have never created a stir fry or don't think you can, try this one out.  You won't be disappointed.

1-2 lbs of chicken breast sliced thin (you can substitute shrimp, beef, pork or tofu as well)
Stir fry vegetables of your choice.  I used carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts, yellow onions and spring onions)
1-2Tbs of cornstarch
salt and pepper
2 Tbs of canola or peanut oil

The Basic Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 cup of regular soy sauce
1/2 cup of chicken broth (or water/bullion equivalent)
2 inches of ginger grated or minced
3-4 cloves of garlic grated or minced
2tsp of cornstarch (or arrowroot)
1 tsp of honey, brown sugar or regular sugar

Thinly slice your chicken (beef or pork). A tip to thinly slice meat easily is to have it partially frozen so it's still firm.  Place in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and 1-2 Tbs of cornstarch and coat lightly. If you are using shrimp or tofu you can coat them as well with the cornstarch.

Cut your vegetables and get your ginger and garlic minced or grated.  Chinese stir fry vegetables should be cut "chunky" so they will still be crispy once the stir fry process is over.  You don't want soggy or mushy vegetables in your stir fry (unless you like it that way).

 **Remember to have all your ingredients ready to go so once you get the wok hot, it only has to be added when needed.

 Heat your wok on high heat and add your oil.  Once the oil gets very hot (almost smoking) add the chicken in and give a quick stir fry for a minute or two.  Then add your chili flakes and ginger and garlic.  Stir fry for another 2 minutes.

 Next add your carrot chunks and large chucks of yellow onion. Stir fry for another minute.

Next add your broccoli, water chestnuts and the prepared sauce.  Stir fry for 4-5 minutes.  The sauce will thicken and the broccoli should become tender crisp.  If you want your vegetables "steamed" longer you can place a lid on your wok or put a tin foil cover over the wok to steam the vegetables longer.  If your sauce thickens too much add a dash of water to thin it out.  Taste for seasoning. If you require more salt add little more soy sauce.

Your stir fry is ready now.  Eat if over rice or just as it is and enjoy.

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