Chicken stir-fries are healthy, delicious and quick to prepare. Great for single servings or for feeding the whole family, chicken stir-fries can be adapted to suit all tastes. Here is a recipe for an easy chicken stir-fry, along with some general stir-fry guidelines.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
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
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
Easy Chicken Stir-Fry
Heat the oil. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or a large skillet over a medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when it shimmers.
Add the garlic and ginger. Add the minced garlic and ginger to the wok and cook for one minute.
Cook the chicken. Add the chicken to the wok in a single layer and cook until golden brown. Try not to disturb the chicken while it cooks, simply flip it over once, halfway through cooking, to ensure that it browns evenly on both sides.
The chicken is cooked when it is golden brown on the outside and white in the center.
Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Cook the vegetables. Add another 1/2 tablespoon of peanut oil, if necessary. Add the diced and sliced onions, carrots and peppers to the wok and cook for two minutes. Then add the sugar snap peas, the corn and the broccoli florets. Always keep the food moving, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all of the vegetables are tender.
Make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, soy sauce and chicken broth. Mix well to ensure that no lumps of cornstarch remain. Optionally, you can add in an extra tablespoon of flavoring such sake, rice wine or an Asian bottled sauce.
Return the chicken to the wok. Place the chicken back in the wok and add in the sauce. Stir to combine the vegetables and chicken, and to ensure everything is evenly coated in the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens slightly.
Prepare the rice or noodles. Cook the rice, noodles, or whatever you intend to serve the stir-fry with. Once the rice or noodles are cooked, you can mix them in with the stir-fry, or serve the stir-fried chicken and veg on top.
Garnish the stir-fry. Garnish the stir-fry with the topping of your choice – chopped nuts (such as cashews), finely sliced scallions, raw bean sprouts or chopped fresh herbs are all good options.
General Stir-Fry Guidelines
Prepare the chicken. To serve four, you should prepare approximately one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Traditional stir-fries generally go easy on the meat and heavy on the vegetables, but it’s up to you.
Make sure to wash the chicken well in cold water first, dry off with some paper towel and place on a clean chopping board.
Trim any fat off the chicken using a sharp knife, then cut into 1/4-inch thick bite-size slices.
For extra flavor, marinate the chicken before cooking. Combine 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine or dry sherry and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Pour the marinade over the chicken and stir to combine. Leave to sit (refrigerated) for as little as five minutes or as long as an hour before cooking.
Decide what to cook with. A flat bottomed, carbon steel wok is the best type of pan to prepare your stir-fry in. You can also use a flat-bottom sauté pan, but you miss out on using the sides of the pan as cooking surfaces, unlike a wok. You may also have trouble with ingredients falling out of the pan when preparing a large amount of stir-fry.
Do not buy a non-stick wok. Non-stick woks are less than useless for high-heat stir-frying; they are downright dangerous. This is because non-stick coating is not supposed to be heated to a very high temperature, but all wok cooking happens at a high temperature.
Use a fish spatula or other thin, flexible spatula for stirring.
Choose your vegetables. Nearly any combination of vegetables can be used in a stir-fry, so it is easy to adapt to your personal tastes and preferences. Some chefs recommend choosing only 2-3 vegetables for a stir-fry, as they believe that keeping it simple will prevent the dish from being too busy, while also saving you from too much prep work. Others take more of an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach. Go with whatever sounds good to you, or whatever you happen to have in your kitchen.
When preparing the veg, try to chop everything into pieces of approximately the same size. This prevents one vegetable from becoming overcooked while another is still raw.
Regardless of uniform size, some vegetables will still cook quicker than others. Place all of the chopped veg into bowls, separated according to their cooking times. This will make it easy for you to throw all of the vegetables with longer cooking times into the wok together, while keeping the fast cooking veg separate. If you are unsure of how long each vegetable takes to cook, here’s a quick guide:
Mushrooms will need five to ten minutes, depending on their size and type.
Cabbage, spinach and other greens will take approximately four to six minutes.
Veggies like asparagus, broccoli, carrots and green beans will take between three and five minutes.
Peppers, peas, courgette and squash will only need two to three minutes.
Bean sprouts are the fastest of all, with a cooking time of less than a minute.
Choose a sauce. You can add further variety to your chicken stir-fries by trying out different sauces. Stir-fry sauces can be spicy, sweet, salty or nutty and can lift a stir-fry from healthy and boring to flavorsome and exotic. You can buy stir-fry sauces at the supermarket, or make your own. Here are some ideas:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
Sweet and sour sauce:
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
4 rounded tablespoonfuls chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons dark soy, Tamari
3 tablespoons honey
1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 orange, juiced
Decide what to serve it with. Stir-fried chicken and vegetables are usually served with some form of carbohydrate, in order to make the dish more filling. The carbohydrates can be mixed in with the stir-fry, or served on the side. You have several options when it comes to deciding what to eat with your stir-fry.
Brown rice, this is probably the healthiest option.
White rice, such as basmati or jasmine.
Noodles, such as Chinese ramen-style or rice noodles.
Pasta, such as angel hair.
Nothing! Stir-fries can be just as tasty eaten on their own. This is a good option if you are trying to limit your carb intake.
Choose your garnish. Add the finishing touch to your stir-fry by choosing a garnish. Garnishes add color, flavor or texture, while also contributing to the presentation of the dish.
Toasted cashew nuts or sesame seeds, sliced scallions or chili peppers, raw bean sprouts or freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro, parsley or basil all make great garnishes.
Go for tofu instead of chicken for a vegetarian alternative.
Try using other types of meat, such as thin strips of turkey or lamb.
Be wary of serving this dish to anyone with food allergies, as soy and teriyaki sauce have wheat/gluten in them and chopped nuts or satay sauce can trigger nut allergies.
Be careful when handling hot water.
Things You’ll Need
Wok or large skillet
How to Make Waterzooi
How to Make Crispy Ranch Nacho Buffalo Wings
How to Make Easy Crockpot Southwestern Chicken
How to Make Ghentse Waterzooi
How to Make Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts
How to Make Stir Fry Sauce