Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My basic stir-fry recipe

Chicken with Thai Basil and bak choy

Most nights, I'm just cooking for my daughter and myself, so I'm looking for something fast and healthy.  Anything stir-fried fits the bill since I can cook the meal in one pan plus my rice cooker.
Here's what I made yesterday, when I happened upon a lovely bunch of Thai basil.  For those of you who haven't tasted Thai basil, it's less sweet than your garden-variety basil.  The leaves are dark green, tinged with purple.  I wouldn't pair it with tomatoes, but it is delicious with chicken.
For 2 people:
one small - medium white onion, diced
a small chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
a bunch of Thai basil - leaves only: strip the leaves off the stem, wash and spin dry.
another green vegetable of your choosing:  I used baby bak choy (Chinese baby cabbage), but asparagus  or snow peas would be nice as well.
Optional, if you like spicy:  a small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced.
boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips, or, if you're lazy as I was last night,chunks.
Alternatively, you can use pork.
dry sherry
soy sauce:  I prefer to use Japanese soy sauce, NOT Kikkoman.  Here in the Bay Area, there are loads of Asian markets that stock many varieties of soy sauce (shoyu, in Japanese).  I use Yamasa "less salt" shoyu.
peanut or grapeseed oil for the pan.

It helps to have a wok to do stir-frying.  The volume of the vegetables can be quite large, and a regular frying or saute pan's sides are just too shallow to accomodate the vegetables.  I have a great non-stick pan from Atlas that I got at The Perfect Edge in San Mateo years ago.

In the wok, bring some water to a boil.  Blanch your green vegetable (which you have cut into smaller pieces) in lightly-salted water for a minute or two, then shock it in ice water and drain while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil until just below the smoking point, then add the diced onion and saute until light brown.  Then add your meat and the ginger, and saute until the chicken is well-browned on all sides (2 minutes or so).
Now add the Thai basil leaves and stir and toss until they begin to wilt. Add the other vegetable and stir well to reheat.
Finally, add some sherry (or chicken stock if you cannot use alcohol) to the pan and bring it to a boil.  Lastly, season the dish with a splash of soy sauce & some freshly ground pepper.
Place in a heated bowl and serve with white or brown rice.


makaimama said...

Just an aside...if you use sherry, make sure it's DRY (NOT "Dry Sack", cream or anything sweet). You can also use vermouth, which is very cheap, or any white wine you have on hand. Some people like to thicken their sauces with cornstarch (all Chinese restaurants do this), but I don't like it. If you do want a thicker sauce, dissolve a teaspoon or two of cornstarch in a bit of cold water, and add the slurry to the pan after you've deglazed it with the cooking wine. Bring the mixture to a boil before serving.

dutchbaby said...

This looks like a delicious dish! When's dinner?