Monday, July 19, 2010

simple chicken stir-fry

I used to laugh when I saw recipes for stir fry.  Why would anyone need a recipe?  Isn't the whole point to throw in whatever you feel like?

And, then I tried to make one.  I threw in whatever I felt like.  Afterward, I felt like was terrible.

I have since tried, on multiple occasions, to make stir fries by simple cooking instinct.  I've failed on all counts.  I've heard that some people have this ability, but apparently I don't.  I've come to terms with it.

Really, I have.

Now, I turn to recipes.  My favorites, though, are those basic stir fry recipes - the ones that provide the foundation for a successful stir fry but allow for some creative interpretations.  This is one of those recipes - it highlights the delicious flavors of the vegetables but not much else.  If you want to eat it just the way it is, it tastes great.  If you want to add more ginger, more heat, different veggies, more soy sauce, or even some orange juice, go right on will still taste good because the foundation is there.

It's simple...but that's why it's a keeper.

To begin, chop up your vegetables.  I used green pepper, carrots, and broccoli.  You can use whatever veggies you like, but I find this combo particularly colorful and delicious.

You also want to cut chicken breasts into thin strips.  The easiest way I have found to do this is to cut them when they are almost frozen (outsides thawed but insides still fairly hard).  Slightly frozen chicken is much easier to work with than chicken that's already thawed.

Cook the chicken in about a tablespoon of oil until no longer pink (I recommend using a nonstick skillet).

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it to a separate bowl and keep warm.  Then, toss your veggies into the skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until crisp-tender).

Once the veggies have reached their desired tenderness, take them out and keep them hot (I just dumped them in the same bowl as the worked).

Then, pour three cups of water into the skillet and bring it to a boil.  Once it's boiling, add 3 teaspoons of chicken bullion.  (You could also just toss three cups of chicken broth into the skillet and call it good.  But, if you don't have chicken broth on hand, the bullion works just fine.)

Add about one tablespoon (or more!) of soy sauce.  I used a gluten-free version, and it tasted fine.

Toss in about a teaspoon of ginger...freshly grated ginger is a-maz-ing.

And then add as much crushed red pepper as you think you can handle.  I added a copious amount, and I'm glad I did.

Throw your veggies and chicken back in and let them simmer for a minute or two.

To thicken it, mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water.  Pour it into the stir fry and bring it to a boil.  Let it simmer for about 2 minutes, or until it's thickened up.

And there you have it.  Simple.  Delicious.

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry
1 T. oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 cup each, carrots, broccoli, and green pepper (sliced)
3 1/4 cups water, divided
3 t. chicken bullion
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. ginger
crushed red pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cornstarch

Cook chicken in oil in a nonstick skillet until cooked through; remove and keep warm.  Cook vegetables in skillet until crisp-tender; remove and keep warm.  Pour 3 cups water into skillet and bring to a boil; add bullion and stir until dissolved.  Add soy sauce, ginger, and red pepper.  Add back the chicken and vegetables, allowing to simmer for about one minute until heated through.  Mix together cornstarch with 1/4 cup water; mix into stir fry and bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer until mixture has thickened.  Serves 6.

Nutrition: 130 cal, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 46mg cholesterol, 812mg sodium, 9g carbs, 1g fiber,2g sugar, 20g protein, 77% vit. A, 55% vit. C, 3% calcium, 5% iron.

This recipe is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday , Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table


  1. It looks delicious. I like to use fresh veg in mine too, I hate the frozen veggies, they always seem to turn to mush when I stir fry with them!

  2. I have the same experiences with stir fries! Emily doesn't let me make them any more unless I follow the recipe exactly...

  3. This looks amazing.. Love the story at the beginning about how you learned to use recipes :)

    I enjoyed all the photos you took to show each step of the way!

  4. This looks absolutely delish! :D I love stirfrys! :D

  5. My family loves stir fry! We'll definitely have to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing! And your recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken...well,it's now a family favorite!

  6. I am not a creative cook either. A girlfriend of mine always teases me that I should try out for the next Food Network Star. I know she either doesn't watch the program or is full of beans! Your stir fry looks straight forward and yummy. :)

  7. The simplier the better, I also don't use recipe when stir-frying. Have a great day!

  8. I've had the same experience with stir- fry! How could something that looks so simple come out so awful! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. I Love stirfries. :-) Isn't the chopping of those veggies so therapeutic! I don't use the chicken boullion, however, but a little Kitchen Basics chicken stock. I get a fierce, 3-day headache from Wyler's or any other kind of boullion.

    Looks delish!

  10. mmmm. I can def try this because I actually have all the ingredients LOL

  11. yum!

    thanks for stopping by my blog and suggesting applesauce in place of butter. I never knew applesauce could replace butter, just oil. I plan to give it a try next time, thanks!!!


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