Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easy Chicken Stir Fry

A stir fry meal is one of the most versatile dishes ever. This is definitely one meal you want to have in your back pocket. You can customize it on the fly depending on your personal taste or based on what you have available in the fridge and pantry. This is usually what I cook when it's about time to grocery shop again and I have a lonely onion and a few asparagus or almost dead bell pepper hanging out. This post will show you how simple it is to whip up a very filling and healthy dinner fast.

I find packages like this in my grocery store and bought this one because it was on sale - deeply discounted.

I'm not saying these pre-packaged meals don't taste good, but I am really turned off by what I found inside. Just look at the ingredients! Noodles that are par cooked and packaged. The vegetables made me want to barf. It just isn't right that these vegetables can have a shelf life of a year. The sauce had SO many ingredients, most of which I didn't understand.

It is so simple to make your own stir fry. Here are the Basics of Stir Fry. I pulled out all the fresh veggies I had: onion, green bell pepper, carrots, asparagus and garlic. You can add WHATEVER veggies you like or have on hand. Broccoli would be great, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, zucchini or squash would be wonderful too.

Protein: We eat a lot of Chicken in our house, but your favorite protein would work here. Sliced beef and tofu are very popular stir fry meats. Be sure to buy the pressed firm tofu. Or you can opt for a fully vegetarian stir fry.

Seasonings: The basics consist of soy sauce and a chili garlic hot sauce if you like food spicy. Both are found on the asian food aisle of your grocery store. I got a little fancy and used both dark and light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, peanut oil and sesame oil.

Toppings: I like to use peanuts and sesame seeds.

The filler: You can eat stir fry plain, or you can add "filler" which would be something like noodles or rice. I like it both ways, and usually let Jim decide which kind of starch he prefers that evening.

That's it. Simple. I started by adding 1 T peanut oil and 1 T sesame oil into a skillet. Olive oil or another oil would work here too. I like the flavors of both sesame and peanut oil. And guess what? You DON'T have to have a wok to make stir fry. Just before the oil began to smoke, I added two chicken breasts that I cut into one inch pieces. Let them brown on one side, then flip and brown on the other - about a minute and a half, 70%. These are added back to cook longer later in the process, so you don't need to worry about completely cooking the chicken through...just get a good color on them. Remove to a plate when done.

Veggies! If you have tough veggies that need to cook longer, then add those first and stir around to give them a head start. Then begin adding your veggies until you reach the really dainty stuff, like scallions. I had one onion, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 8 asparagus that I sliced on the diagonal in one inch pieces and 4 baby carrots which I julienned.

Now it's time to add the sauce. I added 2 T light soy sauce, 2 T dark soy sauce, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T fish sauce, 1/4 t celery salt, 1/2 T chili garlic sauce.

Stir and saute until vegetables are about cooked the way you want them (2 minutes). I like the onion to still have some bite to it, and not be translucent.

I add the chicken back in and stir it around in the hot skillet together. The sauce doesn't coat the way I want it to, it's a little thin. So I take 1 T of hot water and dissolve 1 t of corn starch, then pour that into my pan. The cornstarch acts as a thickener and the sauce starts coating all the veggies and chicken like I wanted.

If you go the noodle route, then I like to boil the noodle until al dente, then throw it into my stir fry so the noodles get mixed in and coated with the sauce also.

I finish it off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and peanuts for crunch. Fast, easy, yummy and healthy. It's the ideal weekday dinner.

Now here is the BEST tip ever! You can repurpose leftover stir fry by making soup! Toss your leftovers into a saucepan and add chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable broth. Heat through, and eat. It's the best ever. I almost prefer the leftover soup to the stir fry. It makes a great lunch the next day.

{Printable Recipe}


  1. Love the new look! Congrats on the wedding, looks like you had a beautiful time:)

  2. I stumbled in from BlogHer and just wanted to say THANKS for the "recipe". I tend to be a "by the book" kind of girl and don't feel comfortable without typed up measurements. You gave me freedom to improvise and tonight's dinner (chicken + broccoli, celery, carrots & onions) was delicious!

  3. Wow! That looks very fantastic! I would like to cook this recipe because it looks very interesting to try, and I think this is very delicious. I will now copy this recipe and cook it when I get home. Thanks for sharing this.

    Beef Stir Fry


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