Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Chicken

Have you ever looked into your refrigerator and had 3 or 4 different vegetables stare back at you, and none of them alone are enough for a meal, or even a side dish?  One carrot, half a bell pepper, the middle of a celery, they all somehow escaped your cutting board.  Until now! Stir fry is my go to meal to deal with the lonely remains of the produce drawer.

Stir fry is a wonderfully versatile way of cooking.  Just about any vegetable or protein can be used, and the options for sauce and other flavorings are seemingly unlimited.  Below is what went into tonight's recipe, but other times you might find mushrooms, bell pepper, eggplant (the small Italian variety), onions or spinach in the mix.  Beef, pork, tofu or shrimp might stand in for the chicken.  I do recommend that you limit yourself to 4 vegetables and only 1 protein.  Otherwise the flavors tend to get all muddled together, and not in a good way.  Also, you may not have a big enough pan!

Thanks to my wife for handling the cooking!

Share contents used:
Bok Choy

1 tbs canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp grated ginger
Pinch of crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 lb Bok Choy, stems and leafs separated,  both cut into 1/4" sticks.
4 scallions, cut into 1" peices
1 chicken breast, cut in to 1/4" x 2" strips
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot (or a handful of baby carrots)
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs mirin
1 tbs cooking sake
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil

Stir fry cooking moves fast, so clean, chop or otherwise prep all your ingredients before you start cooking.

Cook the broccoli ahead of time by boiling it for 3-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

Made the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake, brown sugar and corn starch in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in your wok (or a large skillet) over high heat until very hot, but not quite smoking.  Season the chicken strips with salt and add to the wok.  Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is just cooked through, then remove from the wok to a small bowl.  Add the ginger and red pepper flakes to the wok and stir for 10 seconds, then add all the vegetables except the broccoli. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are just starting to soften.  Timing on this will depend on what you are using and how thick your slices are, so start tasting after about 3 minutes.  You want them to be just slightly under-cooked before moving to the next step. Add the broccoli, chicken and sauce mixture to the wok and cook for another minute, stirring to combine everything.  Taste to ensure the vegetables are cooked to your liking, I try to shoot for keeping them still crisp, though this is easier said than done.  Turn off the heat.  Mix in the sesame oil and serve immediately over rice.

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