Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

1 ½ pounds boned chicken breast, skin removed

Marinade:
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

Seasonings:
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.

Easy Dinner: Pyramid Style

Let’s face it. When it comes to dinner, we want it all: 

  • Easy
  • Delicious
  • Healthy

I’m no different, even though I’m a cookbook author with 10 books (soon-to-be 11!!) to my credit. Making dinner every night can be challenging.

Fortunately, Farmers’ Markets are now offering all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits. Cooking is a pleasure. So we invited Dr. Lilian Cheung, a nutritionist from the Harvard School of Public Health, to a Farmer’s Market and were inspired. Using the HSPH Food Pyramid and the newly designed USDA Plate (http://www.usdaplate.com), we brainstormed and came up with all kinds of quick, healthy Asian dishes.

Go to the Recipe section for

Enjoy!

Nina

Spicy Stir-Fry 101

Watch the Video 5:18
YouTube

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.

Enjoy!

Nina

Grilled Scallops and Rainbow Peppers over Wilted Greens in a Fresh Cilantro Dressing

1 ½ pounds sea scallops, rinsed and drained

Ginger Marinade
2 Tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

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

6 to 8 10-inch bamboo or metal skewers (if bamboo, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour)

Cilantro Dressing
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup clear rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves only

1 pound snow pea shoots, tender spinach, or other baby greens, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons canola or corn oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon salt

1. Put the scallops in a bowl. Mix the Ginger Marinade ingredients and pour them over the scallops, tossing lightly to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the scallops sit at least 30 minutes. Alternatively thread the peppers and the scallops onto the bamboo skewers, starting and ending with the peppers. Brush the scallops and peppers with the marinade.
2. Mix the Cilantro Dressing ingredients in a bowl. Trim the wilted or any hard stems from the snow pea shoots or baby greens and place near the stove. Pour the Cilantro Dressing into a serving container.
3. Heat a wok or a large skillet, add the oil, and heat until near smoking. Add the greens and garlic and toss lightly about 20 seconds, then add the rice wine and salt, and toss lightly over high heat about 1 minute or less, until the greens are slightly wilted but still bright green. Spoon the greens onto a serving platter and mound slightly so that the scallops can be arranged on top.
4. Prepare a fire for grilling and arrange the skewers of scallops and peppers about 3 inches from the source of heat. Broil or grill about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Turning once and brushing with the marinade. Arrange the cooked scallops and peppers over the wilted greens, leaving them on the skewers or removing them. Spoon the Cilantro Dressing on top or serve on the side. Serve warm.

Snow pea shoots and snow peas are sweet and neutral in nature, so they naturally complement many foods. They are reputed to reinforce the spleen and qi and promote the production of bodily fluids, thereby reducing thirst. Cilantro is pungent and warming. Chinese doctors feels that it promotes blood circulation, and it is often prescribed internally and externally. Cilantro past is often applied for easing the discomfort of chicken pox and measles.

Asian Hot and Sour Slaw

4 to 6 Servings
Some cooks may consider it cheating, but I have no qualms about using the shredded coleslaw or broccoli slaw mixes and shredded carrots in supermarket produce sections. They are particularly useful when preparing vegetable side dishes that complement all types of grilled or barbecued dishes.

1 14- or 16-ounce bag shredded coleslaw
1 10-ounce bag shredded carrots
1 tablespoons olive or canola oil
¾  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 medium red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into dice
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

Hot and Sour Dressing, combine in a small bowl:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

1. Heat a wok or a heavy skillet with the olive or canola and sesame oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the red pepper flakes and ginger, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the diced red pepper and toss lightly over high heat. Add the coleslaw and carrots, and toss lightly. Add the rice wine, stir, and cover. Cook over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Uncover and add the pre-mixed Dressing. Toss lightly for a minute and remove to a serving bowl. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.

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.

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