Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

I have decided that I must take the plunge and buy a wok. In years past, I rarely made stir fries. Mostly because Hubs would never eat them. Now that he is eating more veggies and fewer carbs, stir fries have become my go to meal when I need something that all of us can eat, and is fresh and delicious.

Obviously my little fry pan where everything is spilling all over my stove top is just not working that well and a wok is totally in order. Oh well, my birthday is next week. Should I ask for one? Along with a crepe pan, so I can make those too?

So back to the food; I bought the March issue of Food Network magazine awhile ago. This was my first time every checking out the Food Network magazine, even though I regularly watch the TV programs. I quite like this! The magazine wasn't just recipes, but had lots of helpful tips and articles about cooking, restaurants, etc. One of the very best things though was a method of sort to making stir fries. It shows all the options, gives you 5 different kids of sauces, suggests veggies and proteins, and basically puts me in stir fry heaven. The possibilities are endless!

Tonight I made a sweet and sour chicken stir fry, and it was delicious. How did I do it?

Note: don't be put off by the veggies. Basically you need three cups of them in any combination. I raided the crisper and this is what I came up with.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine March 2010

3/4 lb chicken (mixture of thighs and breasts, because that's what I had)
1 sweet red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 sweet yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 big gynormous shallot, sliced up. It was kicking around my fridge
5 big mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of cauliflower florets
1/2 cup broccoli florets (zapped in the microwave with the cauliflower and a bit of water to steam them so they are tender crisp, then drained)
3 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced


1 egg white
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch

Sauce: (now, I halved it because I really hate my stir fries swimming in sauce. If you like lots of sauce, then follow the recipe as listed. Otherwise half this)

3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil

Toss your chicken with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

Get all your ingredients prepped and right by the stove, including the sauce ingredients, in a bowl.

Drain your chicken of all the extra marinade.

Heat up some oil in your pan over medium heat. Toss in the chicken and cook, stirring slowly, until it's cooked through. Now this is where I had an issue with the Food Network directions, because all that marinade good just adhered to my pan and proceeded to go very dark brown. The directions say that when your chicken is cooked to transfer it to a plate, wipe the pan clean, add a bit more oil and proceed. I couldn't really do that. Maybe it works in a wok, but not with a fry pan, so I just got out another clean fry pan. Whatever-I'll do dishes later.

Add a bit of oil to a clean fry pan, heat it over high heat, and toss in your ginger, shallot, garlic, and chopped green onion. Cook and stir while it gets all cooked and delicious looking. Add in your mushrooms, and stir. Then your sweet peppers and broccoli/cauliflower, and stir. The trick is to cook it just UNDER what you want. That way it stays all nice and crisp instead of going soggy and disgusting.

Add the chicken and keep stirring. Stir, stir, stir.

Add in the sauce and keep stirring while it bubbles and thickens up, coating the chicken and veggies. When it's as thick as you want it and coating everything, remove the pan from the heat.

Serve with steamed rice. The sauce is really good spooned over the entire thing. You can garnish with peanuts, coriander, sesame seeds, etc.

Serves four.
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