Chinese style stir frying is a wonderful cooking method, especially for summertime, that uses a minimum of oil and high heat to rapidly sear the food, cook it to perfection and flavor it almost all at the same time. Stir-frying works equally well on the indoor stovetop as it does on a grill, keeping kitchen heat to a minimum if not nil.
Since all the equipment required is a wok (or sauté pan) and a wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle, clean up takes mere minutes. I use a cutting board to hold all the chopped vegetables before using, a small bowl for the proteins, and a small pitcher (or two cup pyrex measuring cup) for the sauce.
Most of my Asian style recipes are flexible guides. I like to change ingredients according to seasons as well as switching or even mixing proteins. If you feel like eating seafood more than chicken, by all means make the substitution. Just be sure to change your cooking time and ingredient order accordingly.
The sauce in this recipe has been tested on pork, poultry, tofu and seafood. It works very well with each of them. My inclination was not to use beef with it because it’s such a very light sauce and I have better suited, heavier sauces to use with beef.
For a vegetarian meal, omit the animal protein and increase the vegetable amounts and/or variety. Go ahead and put your own signature on this dish. It’s a good one to keep in mind following a visit to the Farmers Market too! My recipe changes every time I make this meal.
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 thighs
1 medium sized red pepper, seeded and deveined, julienned
1/2 pound mushrooms
4 green onions, slice white portion, cut green tops into 1” lengths
1/2 pound pea pods and/or 2 cups broccoli sliced into small florets
1 can (15 oz) bamboo shoots, drained
1 heaping Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons aji mirin or dry sherry
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3-4 Tablespoons peanut oil, approximately
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (the real stuff—not kikkoman)
4 oz. cashew nuts or more depending on your preferences
(Bean sprouts, optional)
Serve over white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain. Rice or pasta noodles work well too.
Begin by preparing the grain or pasta. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
Slice chicken into thin strips or 1” cubes. Refrigerate, reserved in a small covered bowl, until ready to cook.
[If using tofu in place of animal protein, I find it best to stir fry it first, set it aside and add it back in at the end to heat it thoroughly without overcooking it.]
Slice mushrooms, julienne red pepper, chop broccoli and slice green onions into 1″ lengths. Set aside on a platter or cutting board.
Rinse pea pods and set aside.
Open can sliced bamboo shoots, rinse and drain. Set aside.
Chop ginger and garlic and set aside.
Pour chicken broth into small pitcher. Set aside.
Mix together soy sauce, mirin, cornstarch, and sugar. Set aside.
Toast nuts until golden brown. Set aside. Do NOT cover them because the heat causes condensation which makes the nuts soggy.
Heat oil over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the mushrooms and red pepper, taking care to push them into the oil away from you rather than toward you to avoid splatter.
Stir fry for a minute or two and add the ginger.
Add the sesame oil for flavoring.
When the ginger gives off an aroma, add the garlic and the chicken and cook until the chicken is opaque and no longer pink inside.
Add peas, broccoli and (bean sprouts). Stir to mix and cook.
Pour broth over, stir, and simmer about 2 minutes, just until the broccoli is bright green.
Add bamboo shoots.
Stir in soy sauce mixture and cook until thickened.
Toss in the sliced white portion of the green onions.
Simmer to heat through, about 30 seconds or so.
Mix in green onion tops..
Serve over grains or noodles and sprinkle with nuts.
Don’t count on having any leftovers. I never do.