Spicy Stir-fried Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger, by Marie Simonds

To make this recipe is to take a mini-course on Asian stir-frying.  The marinade, seasonings and sauce are so typical and use many Asian pantry staples.  You can play with all elements of this recipe and come up with endless combinations of vegetables and seasonings.  In doing so, you’ll learn to make a stir-fry without a recipe using whatever veggies are getting dicey at the end of the week.  That’s actually how I developed Technicolor Stir-Fry.

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into ½ inch cubes

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons minced scallions, white part only
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (or to taste) hot chile paste (such as Siricha brand)

1 pound oyster or button mushrooms, stem ends strimmed, cut into half or thirds if large
¾ pound snap or snow peas, ends snapped off and strings (if present) removed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ½ inch squares
1 orange bell pepper, prepared as red bell pepper

¾ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Marinate the chicken: Place chicken in a bowl with marinade.  Toss to coat and let sit at least 30 minutes.
  2. Par cook the peas: Blanch the snap or snow peas in boiling water for 10 seconds or microwave, covered, on high for 30 to 40 seconds, depending on size.  You just want to start the cooking process.  They should still seem a bit too crunchy to eat when done.
  3. Cook the chicken: Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into a large skillet.  Heat until very hot but not smoking.  Add the chicken and cook over high heat, stirring, until the chicken changes becomes white and firm– about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a ceramic bowl with a slotted spoon.  Cover.
  4. Cook the Vegetables: Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat until hot.  Add the seasoning mixture and sauté for about 15 seconds, being careful not to burn them.  Add the peppers and mushrooms, tossing them with the seasonings.  Stir fy for about 1 ½ minutes, then add the snow peas and sauce.    Stir continuously until sauce is thickened and vegetables are almost totally cooked.
  5. Assemble: Return the cooked chicken to the pan and toss lightly with the vegetables and sauce to integrate.  Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Off script…

Substitute shrimp for the chicken.  Try different combinations of vegetables.  Add white pepper, szechuan pepper, ground star anise or other Asian spices to the dish.  Add a little plum sauce, oyster sauce or hoisin sauce to the sauce or marinade.  Have fun!

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