Monday, January 27, 2014

Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry

Ever since I started a new job at the beginning of the year I have been working non stop! Between my shifts at my old job and my orientation at the new job it seems like all I have done for the past month is go to work. Although tiring, I am definitely enjoying my new job and the challenges that come with learning a new area of nursing.

One of the drawbacks to working so much is that I have not had any time to bake or cook recently. However last week my mother approached me about preparing some chicken for dinner. She specifically asked that I make something geared toward my brother's tastes and to try and use coconut milk if possible because we had some leftover in the fridge from a previous use.

I immediately decided to prepare the chicken using "Thai-style" flavors as coconut milk is prominent in Thai cuisine. Looking through the fridge and pantry, and based on my prior knowledge of Thai flavors, I quickly made up a marinade on the spot. I also decided to use a trick of coating the chicken in corn starch prior to sauteing it in order to give it a more crispy texture without having to fry it, something I picked up when making general tsaos chicken.

In the end I was quite proud of myself for two reasons. Firstly, my brother confirmed that he enjoyed the chicken and it was just the right amount of crispiness, heat, and peanut flavor. Secondly, I think it speaks to my growing cooking repertoire that I am able to think on my feet and create recognizable dishes without any recipe.

Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into strips
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 large zucchini, cut in half and then sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 
  1. Whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch. Toss the cut pieces of chicken in the mixture, making sure to coat well.
  2. Saute the chicken pieces in a large pan over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes on all sides, or until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and red curry paste. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Using the same pan, saute the chopped onion over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to saute for another minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  5. Add the cut pepper, zucchini, and carrots and continue to saute until the vegetables soften a little, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan and pour the marinade in. Mix well to ensure the chicken and vegetables are evenly coated with the peanut sauce. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes so that it may thicken. 

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