Stir-fried Chicken with Vegetables

Chicken with vegetables is both a classic dish and a standard family meal, a familiar item in every Westernized Chinese restaurant and home. In restaurants, all too frequently the chicken is overcooked; or it has not been velveted (an extra step). In either case, the results are not as satisfactory as when the ingredients are cooked properly.

Here is that classic dish prepared the right way. The different ingredients are all treated with respect and added appropriately in separate steps. This makes for a most pleasing meal.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) groundnut oil, or 350 ml (12 fl oz) water (see variations) and 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh or canned water chestnuts, peeled and sliced
  • 225 g (8 oz) mangetouts
  • 225 g (8 oz) bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ΒΌ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions, to garnish

Method

Cut the chicken breasts into slices or strips. Mix them with the egg white, 1 teaspoon of salt and the cornflour in a small bowl, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Pour in the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken slices, stirring vigorously to separate them and keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the oil and discard the rest.

Wipe the wok clean. Reheat (or heat) the wok until it is very hot, then add the 1 tablespoon of drained oil that you have saved (or 1 tablespoon of fresh groundnut oil if you used water). Toss in 2 teaspoons of salt, the water chestnuts and mangetouts and stir-fry them for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients. Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry the mixture for a further 2 minutes. Garnish the dish with the spring onions and serve at once.

Variation

If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to the boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard the water.

Other vegetables may be substituted, such as asparagus, broccoli, courgettes and mushrooms.

Loading
Loading
Loading