Sunday, June 12, 2011

Five-Spice Chicken with Sugar Snaps

Stir-fry is wonderful because it is one of the quickest, easiest things you can make.  You just need to get your ingredients prepped and toss them in a hot wok, then minutes later you have a wonderful meal.  And you can really let your imagination go wild with stir-fry - you can throw in a variety of veggies, meats or seafood, different seasonings, etc.  I enjoy stir-fry so much that I actually bought an entire cookbook devoted to stir-fry.  I have easily a dozen recipes that I have already bookmarked to try.  This was one of them.  I had it down to either this recipe or one for Sichuan Pork with Peppers and Peanuts, but I ended up picking this one.  But don't worry, I will make the Sichuan Pork soon.

My favorite thing about this dish was the sugar snap peas.  I love sugar snaps, but for some reason when I am thinking stir-fry I usually default to snow peas.  But after this, I am going to use sugar snaps in more future stir-fries.  Overall, I thought the dish was good.  It was tasty, the chicken was flavorful and moist, it was simple to make, and it put a whole new spin on stir-fry.  I have never thought to use five-spice in a stir-fry marinade.  And I have certainly never thought to add ketchup to a stir-fry.  The only use for ketchup in my apartment is generally burgers, french fries, and onion rings.  And I'm not sure that I will add ketchup to any future stir-fries, but it was an interesting addition.  I will however use chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts in some of my future stir-fries.  I won't forgo chicken breasts entirely in favor of chicken thighs, but I will mix it up in the future.  And I will definitely experiment more with five-spice!

Recipe after the jump!

Five-Spice Chicken with Sugar Snaps
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes ad Stories
By Grace Young

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4-inch thick bite-sized slices
2 tbsp minced ginger
3 tsp dark soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp ketchup
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed
3/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl combine the chicken, minced ginger, 2 tsp soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, rice wine, and five-spice.  Stir in the sesame oil.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the broth, ketchup, and the remaining soy sauce.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1-2 seconds of contact.  Swirl in 1 tbsp peanut oil.  Carefully add the chicken, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok.  Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear.  Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 1 minute, or until the chicken is browned on all sides, but not cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Swirl remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil into the wok.  Add sugar snaps and stir-fry 1 minute, or until the sugar snaps are bright green.  Return the chicken and any juices that may have accumulated to the wok.  Swirl the broth mixture into the wok, sprinkle on salt, and stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with white rice.

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