This isn’t a take-out style recipe, loaded with sweet sauce…. it’s simple, nourishing… meant to feed a family on a regular basis, as it has been doing for my wife’s family as long as she can remember. Handed down from my mother-in-law, this is basic Chinese cooking at its best: protein, vegetables, and rice. Simple and good food.
Cooking this isn’t difficult. Use proper technique and make sure everything is ready before the flame goes on. My mother-in-law would just laugh at any attempt to give exact amounts for the seasonings (soy, sesame and sugar). Just taste and adjust as necessary.
I’ll have to do a post sometime specifically on woks and stir-frying (edit: I did). It’s best to use a good, thick carbon steel or iron wok which has been seasoned. One more tip: plastic squeeze bottles with the nozzle tip are invaluable for stir frying. They make it easy to add oil and seasonings to the wok quickly and evenly.
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into small, equal-size florets (or really any fresh vegetables you have)
- Canola, peanut or vegetable oil
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- Dark soy sauce (Kimlan brand is what we use)
- Sesame oil
- Cut the chicken into 1″ cubes and cut the vegetables into similar pieces. The key to almost any stir fry is to make sure the meat and vegetables are about the same size and shape.
- Place the chicken pieces into a mixing bowl and add the cornstarch (the more starch you add here, the thicker your sauce will be later) and white pepper. Add about 3-4 tablespoons oil and use your fingers to make the mixture it into an even, velvety, sticky coating. Let that marinate for about 10 minutes.
- Heat the wok on a high flame. When the wok is hot, add a big squirt of oil around the edges to coat the wok generously. Allow the oil to heat until almost smoking, then add the chicken, spreading it out over the surface. Wait 20-30 seconds, then constantly stir the chicken until it is just cooked, about 1-2 minutes. The chicken should remain white and have a velvety coating.
- Remove chicken to a temporary plate or bowl, keeping the wok hot. Add the vegetables to the wok and stir. Add a little more oil and stir. Add a tiny amount of water (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just beginning to lose a little firmness and the raw flavor is gone.
- Add the chicken back to the wok and turn heat to low. Add the soy sauce (about 1/4 cup) and sugar (a big pinch), stirring to coat everything. Add just a few drops of sesame oil and stir. Optionally, you may add a little cornstarch mixed with cold water to the mixture, to thicken slightly.
- Turn the heat down and taste, adjusting for seasoning. Too salty? Add a little sugar. Too Sweet? Add a little soy sauce. Just keep adjusting until it’s right.
- Serve immediately over hot white rice.
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