By Cat, Nov 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
In my mid-20s in Portland, a new type of Chinese restaurant opened. You would not find Chow Mein or Egg Foo Yung on their menu. These restaurants took pride in calling themselves ‘authentic Chinese’ or ‘Sichuan’ (Schezuan or Schezwan). Along with pot stickers and sizzling rice, one could find wonderful recipes like this one on their menus.
I bought a wok, a wok cookbook, and learned how to make many of these wonderful dishes.
Chicken Stir Fry
This recipe is adapted from Extraordinary Health magazine, Volume 9 (1), and serves 2 – 3. The magazine included this recipe in an article titled “Inflammation Cooling Recipes.” In this case, several of the ingredients fit this bill, including broccoli, bok choy, onions & garlic, and bell peppers.
Tamari is a type of soya sauce, but it is fermented which makes the soy more healthful (and less salty).
The original recipe instructs to cook the veggies in boiling water (in the wok) for 7 minutes; remove and drain, then add back to oiled wok with chicken, garlic and tamari to stir-fry 5 minutes more. But this is not real stir fry. Real stir fry is to heat the fat (typically lard) in wok until almost smoking, add chicken and cook almost done; add veggies, stir to coat with oil, then add broth and seasonings, stirring and tossing to warm through.
You can use either method, or the in-between version given below.
If you want some spicy-heat, add dried red pepper flakes to the veggie stir fry. Or add red curry paste to the warm oil and stir a bit before adding veggies.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 12 oz chicken breast, brined
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ head broccoli
- 1 – 2 whole carrots
- 1 stalk celery, with leaves
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- handful snow peas
- 2 cloves garlic (or more, to taste)
- 1 head bok choy
- ¼ cup lard, coconut oil or ghee
- ½ cup homemade chicken stock or water
- curry spice mix, to taste (optional)
- Tamari sauce, to taste
- Equipment: wok or large cast iron skillet
- wooden spoon
- Prep: Brine breasts in a salt brine for 30 minutes. Remove from brine, rinse and drain. If using bone-in, skin breasts, remove meat from bones; retain or toss/compost the skin (I keep the skin). Cut meat into strips; set aside, or refrigerate if not using right away.
- Meanwhile, prep the veggies: cut broccoli into florets and ¾” long sections of stem; slice carrots & celery on diagonal into thin strips; remove seeds from peppers, then slice into thin strips; trim snow peas, then cut into ¾” long pieces; mince garlic; combine all in bowl. Cut bok choy into strips; keep separate.
- Warm 1 Tbsp coconut oil or lard fat (lard, coconut oil or ghee) with a bit of tamari in wok or skillet. Add chicken strips and cook through, turning. Remove and set aside.
- Add ¼ cup fat (lard, coconut oil or ghee) to wok over high heat; add all the veggies except the bok choy to stir fry about 7 minutes. Add cooked chicken, garlic, olive oil, and tamari to taste, along with the bok choy and chicken stock. Cook and stir about 5 minutes more.
- Serve with steamed brown or white basmati rice.
- Extraordinary Health magazine, Volume 9