Stir-fries are a great way to use up small amounts of vegetables left in your crisper. That stray half of a bell pepper, or 6 lonely mushrooms starting to wilt. Such was the state of my refrigerator when I made this stir-fry. I had small amounts of broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, pea pods and red pepper that needed to be used up or tossed out. And I just hate throwing food away.
The key to a good stir-fry (tender chicken and crisp vegetables) is to cut EVERYTHING before you start cooking. And get the sauce mixed ahead of time too. I am always tempted to save a few dishes by cutting and adding directly to the wok as I go, but this never ends well. Something always ends up mushy and overcooked.
Start by cutting your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and setting aside. You will need to add them separately to the wok, so you can either use separate bowls for them (which I avoid-again, the extra dishes) or one large bowl. If you are using one large bowl, add the vegetables to the bowl in the reverse order that you will add them to the wok: pea pods and cabbage first (as they will cook the quickest), carrots and broccoli last (as they will take longer to cook). Place a layer of plastic wrap or waxed paper in between your layers for easy removal of vegetables from the bowl to the skillet.
Cut chicken into very thin slices and set aside.
Heat a little oil in the bottom of a wok or large skillet. Start with your longest cooking veges. I add the broccoli first, saute for 2-3 minutes, or until bright green, then add about 2 Tbs water, put the lid on for about 2 minutes and let it steam. Remove to a serving bowl. Add a little more oil and start adding additional vegetables. If you are making a large amount, cook in small batches, removing cooked vegetables to the serving bowl when they are still crisp (just barely tender-a little under-cooked is best).
Once all of the vegetables are cooked and removed from the pan, add a little additional oil and cook chicken over high heat until tender. The chicken is mixed first with some curry paste (I like red) and ginger before cooking. Adjust heat or find a lid if the chicken splatters a lot.
Stir sauce mixture into chicken and cook until thickened slightly. This sauce has a soy and peanut butter base with some red curry paste.
Stir the vegetables back into the pan and cook just until heated through. Serve immediately over hot rice.
Chicken Stir-Fry in Peanut Sauce
(adapted from Glutenfreegoddess)
2-3 Tbs olive oil or coconut oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 large red bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cups thinly shredded cabbage
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Handful of snow pea pods
1 onion, diced
4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2-3 tsp curry paste, hot or mild, to taste (I use red curry paste)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup hot chicken broth
¼ cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs fresh lime juice (about half of a lime)
1 pkt Stevia (or 1 tsp sugar)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
1 Tbs cornstarch + 2 Tbs water, mixed
**NOTE: Vegetable types are adjustable based on what you have on hand (or what your family will eat).
Mix together sauce ingredients. Set aside. Cut vegetables and chicken and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbs oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. Cook the vegetables in small batches until crisp-tender (but slightly undercooked). Remove from pan and set aside.
Stir curry paste and ginger into sliced chicken. Add 1 Tbs additional oil to hot wok. Stir in chicken and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook 1 additional minute.
Add sauce mixture (stir first to incorporate cornstarch) to pan with the chicken. Cook until slightly thickened. Return vegetables to pan and heat through.
Serve over white or brown rice.