A great combination of hearty, crispy vegetables and chicken breast pieces cooked in a savory and tangy sauce with a slight kick of peppers that goes great with a warm bowl of rice, making an irresistible chicken stir-fry meal.
Busy Night Helper!
This is the perfect stir-fry dish for those busy nights. I will probably mention this a million times on my blog, but buy yourself a good rice cooker! Make this quick stir-fry and serve it with rice that will be done simultaneously.
You just add the rice, water, and salt. Close the lid, push some buttons, and you have nothing else to worry about but stir-frying the chicken and vegetables in sauce. So it’s almost like a one-pot meal, but technically not. Hahaha. Also, check out these Rice Recipes to Keep in Your Repertoire.
If you love wok stir-fry recipes, check out my:
- Shrimp Shishito Eggplant Stir-Fry
- Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry with Scallions Radish Salad
- Hot Honey Sesame Chicken with Nappa Cabbage Stir-Fry!
Try the Curry Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Rice and Beans recipe for an interesting Caribbean take on curry chicken.
To Wok or Not to Wok
One of the first thoughts that came to mind while editing this recipe's video was that I could have made this in my wok. But the great thing about this dish is that you can do it in any frying pan.
Depending on the wok you have, maintenance comes with it, sometimes being too heavy, needing to be on open flames and seasoning and washing it by hand immediately afterward to prevent rusting.
This was just a quick dish for two. But I do highly recommend making this meal in a wok to get the flavors from the pan. In addition, a wok will be much quicker.
This is because of the large area surface and the use of high heat with a small amount of oil. Maybe one day I will redo this dish with my wok so you can see how I get this done. However you plan to make this dish, it will turn out amazing!
When I think of Hoisin, I automatically think of Vietnamese with Pho and Chinese cuisine with pork spare ribs. For instance, the sauce is very thick and dark and more on the salty side. In addition, the thickness of the sauce makes it great for stir-frying.
Likewise, hoisin sauce is compatible with dishes that go well with its seasoning, the five-spice powder containing cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel, and pepper. You can use either white pepper or Sichuan pepper.
These two peppers give a very sharp and tingling sensation, the white pepper being milder, of course. In addition, some recipes may actually vary by adding ginger. Therefore, it is probably based on what you are making the sauce for.
But this is why Hoisin sauce goes well with Pho since its broth is commonly made with a mixture of cinnamon, star anise, ginger, clove, coriander, fennel, and cardamom. A very aromatic blend!
A blend that would go so deliciously with duck. I also remember back in my restaurant days, using a similar combination to make a crispy duck salad. The duck is cooked on fat, aka duck confit, and then sealed in a vacuumed bag for a couple of days.
Next, it was deep fried and then finely shredded. Then I think you'd make a mixed green salad with cilantro, julienne carrots, etc. However, I don't remember the rest of the greens. But the duck was unforgettable; crispy and succulent duck threads intertwined with a hint of cinnamon were delicious!
Cantonese and American-Chinese Cuisine
As mentioned before, hoisin is part of Chinese cuisine, and Cantonese, to be exact, is located in the southeast of China. Hoisin is also one of the ingredients in making char siu, aka those red-tinted, sweet, sticky barbeque spare ribs you've probably ordered from your local Chinese takeout joint.
If you have eaten American-Chinese takeout, you have probably had Cantonese-influenced dishes using hoisin, sweet and sour, and oyster sauce, which has developed since the 1950s during the migration of Cantonese immigrants on the East and West Coast.
They used local ingredients (from spices to vegetables) that were not typically used in dishes made back at home in addition to trying to satisfy the American palettes they served.
From China to Vietnam
But how did hoisin end up in a Vietnamese dish like pho? To begin with, Vietnam borders the south of China and is the neighbor to Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.
And if you did not know already, Pho is basically a clear broth rice noodle soup with thinly sliced meats or meatballs served with mung bean sprouts, limes, sliced fresh peppers, siracha, hoisin sauce, cilantro, basil, and mint leaves.
Some say the dish originated in Hanoi, China, around the early 1900s and was sold by Chinese to Vietnamese laborers, who eventually brought it back over the borders.
To begin with, to make this quick and easy dish, Combine the hoisin sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chicken broth, chili flakes, and sesame seeds and set aside. Additionally, be sure to follow the written recipe; some procedures differ from the video.
Also Important: In stir-fries, you want to make the sauce in advance to add it at the end quickly. Then, you'll fry the ingredients separately to cook quickly and uniformly. For example, this will help maintain the vegetable's crispiness and bright colors.
Afterward, you will fry the chicken breast pieces in avocado oil and set them aside. Then, you will stir-fry the onions, red bell peppers, green beans, and mushrooms and set that aside. In addition, after stir-frying, you can place all ingredients in the same holding container. Then, you will begin making the base for the sauce.
After that, stir-fry the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Then, you'll combine the sauce, chicken, and vegetable mixture. Finally, cover to allow the ingredients to simmer and the sauce to thicken. The rice should be done by this time, and your meal is ready to be served!
For quantities, see the recipe card.
Cut the green beans in half for uniform mouth-bite pieces.
The bell pepper is cut the same size as the green beans for uniform cooking.
Half-thawed chicken breast is way easier to slice. Learn more about prepping chicken.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Chinese Black Vinegar - Try white or brown rice wine vinegar. However, Chinese black vinegar has a more full-bodied flavor, according to The Woks of Life: Chinese Black Vinegar Post. In addition, this set has all the recommended essential Chinese cooking sauces.
- Rice - For this Chinese-inspired recipe, I usually serve it with medium-grain white rice or brown rice; read more at Cook's Notebook on Rice Cooking. However, if you do not have this, you can try regular long-grain white or brown rice or sushi rice.
- Gluten-Free - Use sorghum flour instead of all-purpose flour, rice vinegar or brown rice vinegar instead of Chinese black vinegar, and gluten-free hoisin sauce.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
Vegetarian - Make this dish vegetarian by using battered fried oyster mushrooms!
- Wok - Used for stir-frying the rice on high heat quickly. In addition, I developed this recipe using the Bielmeier Carbon Steel Wok. It is also thoughtfully packaged with easy instructions to season the pan. Additionally, it is lightweight and the perfect size to store. It can also come with a wooden or glass lid and utensils. Learn more about wok cooking.
- Rice Cooker - An option to cook the rice. To develop this recipe, I used the Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker. It's a simple rice cooker I've also had for years. Another popular, highly-rated rice cooker I've seen people talk about is the Zojirushi Rice Cooker. It's expensive, but I would love to try it one day.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, place the rice and chicken mixture in separate 2-inch shallow pans to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. The rice and chicken will last for up to four days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, you can place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Cook the Rice First! - Whatever meal you make, I always suggest starting the rice first before prepping ingredients for the protein or the sides that will be eaten with the rice.
- Prep Vegetables Before the Chicken - This helps prevent the possibility of cross-contamination. It is also easier to clean up. When you prep the chicken last, you can clean and sanitize your tools, cutting board, and sink all at once when cleaning up your kitchen. I also use color-coded cutting boards to prevent cross-contamination.
- Use Avocado Oil when Frying - It has a high smoke point; it will withstand high temperatures before smoking.
- Even Sliced Red Bell Peppers into Thick - Slice off the top and bottom. Then, cut the pepper in half. You can also pull all the pith and seeds out or use your knife to cut them away. At this point, you will have a flat even sided pepper to cut into uniform pieces. In addition, to prevent waste, you can cut the top and bottom into four sections to cook evenly with the other large slices, as pictured.
- Cut When Half-Thawed - They are much easier to slice into even pieces. You can achieve this by letting frozen chicken breast thaw in your refrigerator the night before. Even pieces are also essential to ensure equal cooking time and portion control.
Get more valuable tips at Cook’s Notebook.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several ways to test this; you can use the wooden spoon hack by placing it in the oil; if it doesn't bubble in the oil, it is not ready. Another way is to place a piece of bread into the oil; If it browns quickly, it is ready.
Sorghum flour is a gluten-free, low GI (Glycemic Index) food option that is high in protein. You can use all-purpose flour if you do not wish to use sorghum flour.
In the video, the flour I used was sorghum.
Looking for other Asian recipes like this? Try these:
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- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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