Thursday, June 30, 2011

Peking Chicken & Peas

Our rainy, dreary, barely-there Spring has given way to Summer and the garden is starting to take notice.   This is the time of year that demands I be most creative about our menu in order to use up all the produce and ensure that we never, ever have a backlog of zucchini (I regard zucchini with the same fearful respect as Mogwai).  Dinner time a few days ago found me with a whole bunch of fresh snow and sugar snap peas on my hands, so I made a stir fry, one of our favorite meals to let the veggies really shine.

If you are accustomed to Chinese takeout, the following recipe may taste under-salted and under-sweetened to you, but I'd encourage trying it.  When we first started cooking Chinese at home it took some time for our palates to adjust, but now we prefer what comes out of this wok to what comes out of any Chinese restaurant in our area.



Peking Chicken & Peas

1 tsp. each cornstarch, soy sauce, and rice wine
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
3 whole green onions, thinly sliced
1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste

1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
4-5 carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
2-3 c. snow or sugar snap peas, cleaned & ends removed

Sauce:
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. brown rice vinegar
2 T. hoisin sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth


  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
  2. Marinade chicken pieces in soy sauce, rice wine, 1 1/2 T. oil, and cornstarch for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.  When hot, add half of the garlic and ginger and the red pepper flakes.  Fry for 30 seconds and add the chicken.  Stir fry until the chicken is opaque and cooked through, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from wok and set aside.
  4. Heat another tablespoon of oil and add remaining garlic and ginger, followed by chopped onion and carrots.  When carrots are nearly cooked, add peas.  
  5. When the vegetables are tender (but not mushy, and retaining their color) return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce and green onions, stirring to coat the chicken and vegetables. Cook for 1 more minute.  
  6. Serve with jasmine rice and peanuts, cashews, or sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

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