Chinese chicken stir fry with broccoli is an authentic recipe that you can easily order from any restaurant all around the world. This homemade version will help you to make it more affordable to feed your family who is always hungry. Way to go to save money, huh?
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Active Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Even after living here in the States for more than 20 years, I still have craving for authentic Chinese food. Broccoli chicken is one of those dishes that I always can't get enough. Just like many parents, I always try to think of a new way to save time, money and make it healthy. Sometimes, it is difficult to accomplish them all. But believe me, when you find a way to make them all happen at the same time, you just want to have someone to pat on your back saying, "Job well done." Here is one of the recipes. I am going to show you to make this Chinese chicken stir fry recipes in 2 ways. It gives you more options. A slight change is another dish for your family. 2 yummy and healthy dishes for everyone. Why not, right?
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The traditional recipe always has that pale looking chicken meat. But to many American, including my hubby, that means the chicken is still "raw", even though the meat is thoroughly cooked through. So, I “brown” it with dark soy sauce before it is cooked. If you are that conscious when it comes to the meat color, traditional Chinese dark soy sauce is a MUST in the marinade.
If you plan to serve this with white rice, start that process before prepping the chicken. It is because the rice will take a while to be cooked.
The cooking method I use in this Chinese chicken stir fry recipe is a very traditional Chinese way of cooking. Yes, there is more oil used. The reason of doing that is to speed up the cook time. The Chinese called this method as "zou you". Word to word explanation means "running on oil". In fact, it uses super hot oil to cook the meat in very high temperature for sealing the juice inside and taking less time to cook the meat through. It is like semi-deep-fry the chicken. However, if you want to have less oil, that's perfectly fine, too. It is all about flexibility. You will preheat the deep skillet with about 2 tablespoons of canola oil and brown the chicken. Make sure the meat is single layer on the skillet. It may need to separate 2-3 batches to brown them all.
The first time when I made this authentic Chinese chicken stir-fry, I used white meat because of my American husband's meat preference. Then, I used dark meat for experiment the next time. It is a huge lesson for me to learn that I want to share with you the differences between using boneless skinless chicken thighs vs chicken breasts.
Being a busy mom, time is an essence. Boneless skinless chicken thighs from any grocery store comes with a lot of fat. I ended up spending at least 10 minutes of trimming fat. Not to mention of the discarded fat that you paid for it. Besides, if you want to cook it on that same night, you must double the amount of your marinade. Otherwise, the meat will be "tasteless". However, I do love the fact that chicken thighs are much juicier compared to white meat. And using dark meat is the authentic way to do it.
When it comes to boneless skinless chicken breasts, it is pretty much everything opposite of what I shared about the dark meat. In my opinion, the only setback of the white meat is the texture. It is not as smooth as dark meat. This is purely from my Chinese perspective because I grew up with having almost everything with dark meat. So, it is up to you to determine what is more important to you. Is your deciding factor based on your time used to trim fat, money used to pay for the discarded fat or texture of the meat in your ultimate dish? Or all of the above?
This recipe did say that it is Chinese chicken stir-fry 2 ways. The biggest difference is the vegetable used in each version. Authentic Chinese way uses fresh broccoli. I like to make meal prep much easier. As a result, frozen broccoli florets is my choice. As we all know, both fresh and frozen broccoli soften and wilt a little bit once it is cooked. As much as I love this vegetable, I also want to think of an economic, healthy and hearty version which is frozen cut green beans. I must admit that I incorporate plenty of green beans in my weekly diet due to the reasons mentioned earlier. It will take a little bit longer to cook and need more seasoning. In the end, it is still a great alternative for broccoli. So, I encouage you to give it a try.
1.5-2 lbs (680-907g) Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs (thinly sliced against the grain)
2 lbs (907g) Frozen Broccoli Florets or Cut Green Beans
3/4-1 cup (5-7oz / 151-202g) Canola oil
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper (optional; can substitute with red pepper flakes)
1 splash Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 splash Cooking Wine
1 pinch of Sugar
1 tsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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