The Wonder of the Wok (Sorta Simple Chick Stir Fry)

Growing up in a German and Italian family (and being quite “American”), we never did Chinese food at home much. Maybe this is why it always seemed so special, so exotic, so friggin’ tasty. Nowadays in my kitchen the ethnic variety is subject only to my cravings. Yes, nowadays, the Asian cuisine is much more prolific. I love my wok, but oh it was a journey (and still is). First there was the frozen stir fry in a bag phase, the half frozen, half vegetable phase (worse. idea. ever.), the non-stick wok routine…. you get the idea.

Wok's Got Character

Much more refined these days, but still much to learn. I really enjoy Tigers & Strawberries as a resource to not only learn recipes of all kinds of Asian cultures, but also the fundamental cooking techniques of those cultures. I do find her stuff to be a bit challenging at times and her recipes will definitely tax the supply of your local non-international grocery store. This recipe, with a marinade and custom sauce, isn’t the simplest of choices; but won’t overly tax your skill set or ingredient needs.

Stir Frying Step One

Couple things worth noting for stir fries. First, don’t go non-stick on the wok. Woks are an exception to the “you get what you pay for” rule. The simple cheap woks are often the best. Carbon steal is a nice choice. Second, uniform size. You want all your pieces of a particular vegetable to be of the same size (roughly. this doesn’t have to be exact) so it all cooks in the same amount of time. Third, HEAT. Wok cooking is fast cooking. Using fresh ingredients and a hot wok, the time from when the first ingredient hits the oil to the time it’s ready to serve is in the span of 10 minutes. There is much much more to learn about wok cooking, and I strongly recommend Wok Words at Tigers & Strawberries as a good starting point. Now on to the recipe!

Sorta Simple Chicken Stir Fry (with curried rice)

Sorta Simple Chicken Stir Fry

1/2 pound chicken breast; cut and sliced into thin strips.
1 celery stalk; cut into thin strips
1 head of broccoli; stalk optional. Cut the heads in halve and the stalks in thin strips.
1 inch ginger; minced
4 tablespoons oil (peanut, canola, vegetable)

1 egg white
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 teaspoons rice seasoning (or rice wine)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 tablespoons water or stock (chicken, preferably)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prep: Mix the marinade together and combine with chicken. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Be sure to mix the seasoning as well before moving on.

Parboil the celery and broccoli in a pot of water for about 30 seconds. Drain and set aside.

Wok Action: Heat the wok to high (if you’ve got a non-gas stove, you’ll probably never lower the temp). Once hot, add two tablespoons of oil and swish around (carefully!) until wok is coated approximately 2/3 of the way up. Add the chicken and “stir fry” (toss) for about 2 minutes, until the chicken is firm. Remove to a plate.

Let the wok reheat and throw in another two tablespoons of oil. Recoat and throw in the veggies, chicken and seasoning. Combine until everything is coated with a light glaze; a few minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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One Response to “The Wonder of the Wok (Sorta Simple Chick Stir Fry)”

  1. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as the sight of a well-seasoned and much-loved wok. I have several, and they are the pride and joy of my kitchen.