Wednesday, August 22, 2012

chicken stir fry with sesame-hoisin sauce

This whole living at my mom's thing really cuts into my kitchen routines. There's less baking going on, and I feel a little bit discouraged from baking due to all the bakery junk my mom brings home (I don't touch it, but Bunny does and I feel like I'm clogging up the house with junk when I bake now). Even cooking is sometimes a non-starter, if I'm working late, or just into a long week, and often as not the days I feel like cooking someone has already beat me to it.

Also, the "lazy meals" tag here might seem a little out of place. There's a lot of chopping and such for prep work. However, if you plan your meals in advance you can do this ahead of time ... or just buy precut veggies and chicken. If you don't have overnight to marinate your chicken, just marinate it for as long as you reasonably can. It adds extra flavour and juiciness but it isn't necessary.
So I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm leaning on some reinterpretations of old favourites right now. If redoing the same stir fries and tacos and pastas keeps us fed I can be happy enough with that. I have to do a bit of a twist, though.

Tonight's chicken stir fry is a bit of a combination between soy marinated chicken and a hoisin stir fry. I wanted to give the chicken a bit of a marinade to help give it more moisture and depth of flavour before adding it into the stir fry, but I found that I actually didn't want the marinade to be the same as the stir fry sauce.

As with all my recipes, this invites some interpretation. If you don't like the vegetables I've chosen, switch them up. If you're not into chicken, try pork or beef. If you don't like the heat, leave the chili oil out.

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups snap peas (or snow peas)
  • 3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks or stips
  • a handful of sesame seeds, to garnish
  • vegetable oil to cook with (about 2 tbsp)
For the chicken marinade
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
For the hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup hoisin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes in oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, grated
Directions
  1. The night before, or early in the day, prepare your marinade. Wisk together the soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and lemon juice.
  2. Place your chicken strips in a large freezer bag (or just a bowl, if that's how you prefer to roll) and pour the marinade overtop. The nice thing about a bag is you can squish things around for optimal coverage.
  3. Chuck it in the fridge for the night and let the marinade work it's magic. The longer the chicken marinates, the more juicy and flavourful it will be.
  4. The next day, prepare your vegetables.
  5. Prepare your stir fry sauce, by combining hoisin sauce, soy, sesame oil, water, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and chili oil. Wisk it all together and set aside for later.
  6. In a large skillet over high heat, heat about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. When it's sizzling hot, drain most of the marinade from the chicken and put the chicken in the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes flipping frequently, until the chicken is completely opaque.
  7. Remove the chicken, set aside for later.
  8. Add a little bit more oil to the pan. Once that's nice and hot, add the snap peas. Cook these about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. You're looking for this to turn a bright, vibrant green.
  9. Add the pepper strips to the pan, continue to stir frequently. Do this for another minute or two.
  10. Add the zucchini, continue to stir. Cook for about one minute.
  11. Add the chicken back to the skillet. You'll want to stir it all up at this point so everything is fairly evenly distributed. Pour the sauce over the whole mixture and cook this up for about 2-3 minutes. You're looking for the sauce to start to gently simmer and get some heat in that.
  12. Serve over a bed of rice or noodles, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top for extra fanciness.

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