Friday, August 2, 2013

My Mother's Chinese Chicken Stir Fry

Yum
 When we came to the United States in the early 70's my mother cooked mostly Sri Lankan food.  We needed to keep our connection to our homeland and food was a great way to do that at the time.  After a few years here, my mother started to experiment with other foods from American, Italian and Chinese.  You may scratch your head when you look at the ingredients list below and you see curry leaves, pandan leaves, cardamoms, cloves...and how they can be in a Chinese dish.  Well, you can't take the Sri Lankan cook out of my mother and that's how she made her Chinese Stir Fry.  The only thing I know is that it was one of my favorite dishes to eat and it became a family favorite for a quick weeknight meal. Yes... this stir fry is considered quick in my mother's book because it's a one pot dish with rice.  She is so used to cooking 3-4 dishes to eat a rice and curry meal that a one pot dish is a breeze for her.  All I know is making this dish with her the other day brought back some sweet memories of my childhood.



Ingredients:
3lbs skinless bone-in chicken cut into large chunks
10-12 curry leaves
1-2 pandan leaves
3-4 green cardomom pods
3-4 black cloves
1 small cinnamon stick (1inch long)
salt and black pepper to taste
1Tbs grated ginger
1Tbs grated garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce (or to taste for salt)
1 1/2 cups water
2 carrots peeled and chopped or sliced
2 stalks celery sliced
1 onion sliced
1 bell pepper sliced
1 can water chestnuts drained
1 bunch green onions slcied
2Tbs cornstarch with a little water to thicken sauce

Recommended Garnish:  store bought Chow Mein Noodles

Note:  I cooked a double recipe in the photos below so if you see more quantity than suggested, that is why.  The recipe provided should feed about 4 people. 

Directions:
Cut chicken into large chunks with bone-in and marinate for 1 hour with some salt and black pepper.  Then heat 2-3 Tbs canola oil in large pan or wok and add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, curry leaves and pandan leaves for 30-45 seconds.  Next add the marinated chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes.

 Then add ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Next add the carrots, celery and onion to the dish and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the soy sauce and water to cook the chicken.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

 Once the chicken is cooked through, add the bell pepper, water chestnuts and green onion.  Cook for another 5 minutes (preferably covered).  Finally make the cornstarch and water slurry and pour into pan.  Stir well and allow the gravy to thicken.   Taste for seasoning and serve with rice.  Enjoy.
 

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15 comments:

  1. Nothing is better than a meal with a memory!

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  2. This chicken stir fry is a winner, I never thought use pandan in stir fry,sound and looks delicious and perfect with white rice !

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  3. looks delicious! i love the combination of flavors!!! and one pot...perfect...less dishes for people like me who don't have a dishwasher :)

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  4. looks super yummy :) lovely clicks dear :)

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  5. I love family recipes like this - pure comfort food! Looks delicious!

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  6. You gotta love recipes from Mom! This looks so hearty!

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  7. Sounds like our family! Except, my mom never gave in to cooking anything other than Macedonian...to this day :)
    Mama's recipes are the bestest!!

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  8. Awesome chicken stir fry, just perfect for a family meal!

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  9. LOL Too funny, your mother - can't take the Sri Lankan out of her! This sounds great though.

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  10. Who doesn't love a one pot meal! Especially one that looks this good. Your mom is a really cook.

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  11. This looks fantastic!! What a yummy dinner idea...so packed with flavor! Your mom has created a new fusion cuisine!

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  12. What a delicious stirfry! Gotta love those easy meals that get cooked in one pot. I know your mother is proud right now. :)

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  13. Wow! I tried this today, and it was incredibly tasty! I've never stir-fried before either, and it came out incredibly well. Thank you for sharing this to us!

    Beef Stir Fry

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  14. made this today,I cant give it a 5, I give it a 10. beautiful. I could not get pandan so I had to substitute with thai basil.Will make this again.

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