Taylor Tries to Cook: Stir-Fry
This week I wanted to attempt something that I absolutely love, but have never considered actually trying to make. Every year for my birthday, my family goes out to a Japanese restaurant where we are delighted by a delightful hibachi grill show and delicious food. Obviously, I have neither the training nor the resources to make something that extravagant, but I thought I would give stir-fry a shot to try to at least tide me over until the next time I can go to a hibachi grill.
From what I gather on the Internet from people that actually know things about cooking, stir-fry dishes are weeknight favorites because of their versatility and the fact that they don’t take too much effort to throw together. I was skeptical, as many of these recipes had approximately a thousand ingredients, but decided to give it a shot anyways.
I was a little put off after my shopping trip, as it ended up being about $25 for everything I needed for this meal. I had to remind myself that I didn’t have many of the basics of this recipe already in my pantry, such as cornstarch, chicken broth, and peanut oil. Now that I have these things lying around, making this in the future will be much cheaper and easier.
Honestly, the most tedious part was chopping the veggies. I have a knife set that I purchased from the Christmas Tree Shops discount store, so you can imagine that chopping things is a little difficult. Invest in a good knife, kids. The amount of vegetables in the recipe that I used kind of intimidated me, so I stuck to just onion and asparagus. In hindsight, I wish I would have had more veggies, but now I know better for next time.
Cutting up uncooked chicken breast is also fairly new territory for me, as I usually opt for the pre-cooked frozen option. I probably end up wasting a fair amount of good chicken in trying to trim off the fat, but I’m doing my best.
Basically, making this dish is just throwing things in a pan with some hot peanut oil starting with ingredients that take the longest to cook and working your way down. Start with cooking the garlic and ginger first, then add the chicken. Once the chicken is starting to brown, add the veggies. After a few minutes, add soy sauce. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch in with the chicken broth and then add the mixture to the pan. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, and serve with your choice of rice.
This was so much easier than I expected it to be, and I really can’t wait to play around with ingredients in the future. This is a fool-proof base recipe that can be adapted based on what you have lying around. It made me feel like I might actually be becoming capable in the kitchen.
RECIPE (from the Food Network):
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 (15-ounce) can baby corn, drained
2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add chicken and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until starting to brown, stirring constantly. Add onions, carrots, and peppers and cook 1 minute. Add snap peas, corn and broccoli and cook 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and cook 2 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Dissolve cornstarch in chicken broth in a small bowl and add to wok. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.