Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chinese Chicken with Snow Peas and Broccoli

I adapted this recipe from an old copy of Everyday Food--the original recipe is for cashew chicken, but I couldn't find raw cashews at the grocery store, and I thought using the roasted salted ones would make it too salty. So, I just substituted veggies for the nuts and added a little more heat.
This was a great weeknight dinner: quick and easy to make, healthy, cheap. Three pounds of chicken thighs were only $6.50 and a head of broccoli was $1.I bought garlic, chicken broth and ginger but had more of the other ingredients on hand--soy sauce, sherry, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, and chili-garlic paste.
This was yummy. Next time I'll use zucchini, since the garden is producing an insane amount of it.
I made enough to last for a few dinners--halve the recipe if you only want a dinner for two out of it.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
a 2 inch chunk of ginger, minced or grated
2 tablespoons sherry or Chinese cooking wine
1 can on chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or more, according to taste)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste or Sriraccha
2 cups of snow peas
2 cups of broccoli ( 1 crown) chopped or broken into florets

What to do

Grate the ginger and garlic and chop the chicken.
Chopped chicken, grated ginger and garlic. 
Heat up the sesame oil and olive oil in a deep saucepan. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the chopped chicken. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the chicken and brown thoroughly. You will need to mix it around every few minutes. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Chicken being browned in sesame oil. 
Then, when the chicken in browned all over, toss the grated ginger and garlic in and mix it around, cooking it a bit in the oil. Cook the ginger and garlic for about two minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic paste. Mix, scraping the bottom on the pan to get up any bits that stuck while you were browning the chicken. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes to get the sauce thick, "melded", and infusing the chicken.
At this point, you can finish the recipe, or you can wait. The previous steps can be prepared ahead of time if that suits your schedule. Just turn the heat off and leave the chicken soaking in the sauce until right before you're ready to eat.
Right before you're ready to serve, turn the heat back up to high. Toss in the snow peas and broccoli and cover the pot. Allow the veggies to cook in the steam from the sauce for about 3 minutes. You want them to stay fresh-tasting and crisp, so don't overcook.
Open the pot and mix everything together.
Serve over rice.
Messy and yummy. 
I of course drowned mine in extra Sriracha.

This was a great, budget-friendly week-night meal. I will be making it over and over.

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