Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

1 ½ pounds boned chicken breast, skin removed

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 pound oyster or button mushrooms, stem ends trimmed
¾ pound snap or snow peas, ends snapped off and veiny strings removed
3 ½ tablespoons canola or corn oil

3 tablespoons minced scallions, white part only
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon hot chili paste (or to taste)

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch squares
1 orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch squares

Chicken Sauce:
¾ cup Classic Chicken Broth (page 27)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Trim the chicken of any fat or gristle. Cut it into ½-inch cubes and place them in a bowl. Add the premixed Marinade and turn the chicken cubes in it to coat them. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Cut the mushrooms in half or into thirds, if large.
3. Blanch the snap or snow peas in boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh immediately in cold water and drain.
4. Heat a wok or large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the oil, heat until very hot, and add the chicken. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the chicken changes color and separates—about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken cubes with a slotted spoon and drain. Wipe out the pan.
5. Reheat the pan, add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil, heat, and add the Seasonings. Stir-fry briefly, about 15 seconds, then add the red and orange peppers and mushrooms; toss them with the seasonings and stir-fry for 1 ½ minutes. Add the snow peas and Chicken Sauce, and cook, stirring continuously, to prevent lumps, until the sauce is thickened. Return the cooked chicken to the pan, and toss lightly to heat through and coat the pieces. Scoop onto a platter and serve immediately.

Spicy Stir-Fry 101

Watch the Video 5:18

Summer is here and farmer’s markets are now offering a bounty of locally grown rainbow vegetables. Stir-fried dishes are perfect for this time of year. They are easy to prepare, healthy, and versatile, and you can make a large batch and enjoy them for multiple meals. In “Spicy Stir-Fry 101” I not only demonstrate a simple recipe for “Spicy Stir-fried Vegetables with Chicken”, I show the classic Chinese method of cutting, marinating, and cooking raw chicken breast as well as a time-saving method of boning and using rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

This recipe is from my recently published paperback of the award-winning classic, “Spoonful of Ginger”, which I am proud to say is as beautiful as the hard cover edition. For the uninitiated, ”Spoonful of Ginger” took 7 years to research and write and was inspired by my fascination with the ”food as medicine” philosophy that is incorporated into classic Chinese cooking. For the book, I traveled all over the world, seeking out “food as medicine” healers, doctors, and cooks. This book chronicles my travels and relates my adventures meeting the extraordinary authorities and cooks. Spoonful also contains a treasury of some of my favorite, delicious, and health-giving recipes, many of which I compiled and adapted from my travels.

So here is a basic recipe for Spicy Stir–Fried Chicken with Vegetables. Feel free to substitute other vegetables – whatever is available – and adjust the cooking time as necessary. BTW, don’t overcook your vegetables. They should be al dente or crisp tender.



Easy Dinner: Roast Chicken and Tomatoes

With Thanksgiving coming up, roast chicken is probably the last thing you want to think about, but it’s always helpful to have new ideas for easy side dishes. Roast cherry tomatoes are simple to prepare and taste delicious. Use the leftovers on sandwiches or as a topping on grilled meats or seafood. Sprinkle the top with different herbs such as fresh or dried basil or oregano before baking, then toss with cooked whole wheat pasta, grated cheese, and some greens. Add cooked meat or seafood and you have a filling and healthy meal.

Enjoy the holiday!


Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Six Servings

I was introduced to roasted cherry tomatoes by a friend in London who often served them with their stems as an attractive and delicious side dish. I like to season them with oregano, but other herbs like thyme or basil are equally good.

1 ½ pounds cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pints,  rinsed and drained

1 ½  tablespoons dried oregano

2 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the cherry tomatoes in one layer in a non-reactive pan (not aluminum). Prick the tomatoes lightly with the tip of a small knife or a fork.

2. Sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the olive oil evenly over the tomatoes and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until soft and tender. Spoon into a bowl or  serve on plates.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2009.


Six Servings

My family loves all types of noodles, Asian and Italian, so I‘m always looking for new ideas. This dish is also terrific with leftover roasted chicken. The fresh arugula tossed into the hot pasta at the last minute makes this dish special and is a great way to get my son to eat more vegetables.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¾ to 1 teaspoon crushed dried chili flakes

3 pounds cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half

12 leaves or about 2/3 cup large fresh basil leaves, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta

5 cups arugula, rinsed, spun dry, and coarsely cut into bite-size pieces

1 ½ pounds roasted chicken meat

1/3  cup good-quality store bought pesto

1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

½ cup  grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for 5 seconds until fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over high heat until the tomatoes are beginning to thicken, about 15-20 minutes. Gently break up the tomatoes and stir while they are cooking. Add the basil, salt, and pepper and cook gently for a few minutes.

2 ..Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts of salted water in a large pot to a boil. Add the penne and cook about 10-12 minutes until al dente. (See package instructions.) Drain in a colander.

3. Add the arugula to tomatoes, stir, and cover. Let them cook for a few minutes, then add the cooked penne and toss together. Scoop the pasta into a big salad or serving bowl. Arrange the chicken on top. Quickly mix the pesto with the vinegar and olive oil and pour over the top. Sprinkle with the freshly grated cheese and serve immediately.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2009

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.