Broccoli Chicken Stir Fry

April 10, 2014

in Cook What You Like, Main Dishes

Broccoli Chicken

Stir fry or sauté, both are terms for the same thing – a fast cooking method of searing food on a layer of oil heated in a shallow pan over high heat and then moving ingredients around as needed.   Many Chinese dishes are prepared this way –  the quick cooking time keeps vegetables tender crisp and the hot heat seals in the juiciness and flavors of meats.

Broccoli Chicken is one of the easiest stir-fry dishes to prepare.  Why?  Because there are only two main ingredients – broccoli and chicken, and two main cooking steps –  broccoli first and then the chicken.  How easy can dinner get?

If serving this dish with steamed rice, get the rice on first as Broccoli Chicken takes just a few minutes to cook.  A pot of rice, whether prepared on the stove-top or with an automatic rice cooker, takes 40-45 minutes; allow another 10-15 minutes for brown rice.  Plan accordingly if serving this dish with other accompaniments.

Prepare the ingredients for the dish: cut up the broccoli, marinate the chicken, and mix together the sauce ingredients.  When all is in place, uncork the wine and relax for a few minutes waiting for the rice to finish cooking.  A chilled crisp Chardonnay or Albariño goes well with savory Broccoli Chicken.

Some versions of Broccoli Chicken add oyster-flavored sauce  (“oyster-flavored” as there’s no oysters in the sauce) and adding it to this dish is a matter of personal preference.  The sauce lends a subtle richness with darker color to the dish and also more saltiness.  Instead of mixing the oyster-flavored sauce in with the dish’s sauce ingredients, you can add it at the end, adjusting to your taste.

Before cooking the Broccoli Chicken, set the table, get the kids to wash their hands, and feed the dog.  Dinner will be on the table in less than 10 minutes.

Recipe: Broccoli Chicken

Like more gravy for the rice?  Double the sauce ingredients.

Ingredients

  • generous 1 cup chicken, 1/2 of a whole breast or 2 thighs
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 slices fresh ginger root, about 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1-2 Tablespoons oyster flavored sauce (optional – if using, decrease salt amounts)

Instructions

  1. Prepare ingredients: cut broccoli into pieces with heads no bigger than 1 inch and stems no longer than 1 1/2 inches. Rinse broccoli and drain well. Take the chicken off the bone and remove the skin; cut chicken into small pieces no bigger than 1 inch by 1 1/2 inches , about the size of half a thumb. Place chicken pieces into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon each cornstarch and soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger coins, 2 tablespoons oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt; set aside. Mix together sauce: 1 tablespoon each cornstarch and soy sauce,  1/2 cup water or chicken stock, and optional oyster sauce.
  2. Cook broccoli: in a large sauté pan, over high heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons oil until simmering.  Add broccoli and sauté for about a minute moving it around to avoid scorching.  Add 2-3 tablespoons water and cover pan to steam broccoli until barely tender crisp, 3-5 minutes.  Add more water a tablespoon at a time if necessary.  Check every minute or so. It’s better to have undercooked broccoli; remove from pan onto a plate.
  3. Cook meat and bring together: using the same sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons oil and heat over high heat until simmering. Remix chicken and marinade and add to pan, spreading chicken so that it is in a single layer in pan; sauté over high heat. When chicken is brown on the underside (edges will be white and middle pink), flip over the chicken with a large pancake turner/spatula; let cook for about 15 seconds. Add sauce mixture, stirring and scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan; bring sauce to a boil to thicken. At once, add cooked broccoli and toss to blend well.  Plate up!

Serves 3-4 with steamed rice.

 

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