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How to Make Chicken Stir-Fry with Different Variations.

Updated on April 22, 2016
anglnwu profile image

A certified health and wellness coach, I love discussing food, health benefits and how to keep weight in check,


Joined: 7 years agoFollowers: 982Articles: 168

Chicken stir-fry with tofu

I made this dish with diced chicken and firm tofu.
I made this dish with diced chicken and firm tofu.

Copyright @ Angeline Oppenheimer

The main dish is often the star of the meal. Like any star, it needs to possess qualities befitting a star—looks, taste and substance. Chicken comes to mind. It is great source of protein (67%), vitamin B3 (72%), tryptophan, selenium and phosphorus. In addition, it is also relatively low in fat. But unlike most stars, chicken doesn’t need to be fussed over, in order to bring out the star qualities. It is very versatile and with a little cooking ingenuity, this star can shine on any meal occasion. And what’s more, this star doesn’t need a lot of preparation time either. Stir-fry fits the bill perfectly.

Stir-fry is an Asian way of cooking, where heat and speed comes together to bring out the flavor of the food. Similar to sautéing, stir-fry usually requires a wok or any pan, deep enough to toss food around. Usually a little oil is used to coat the pan and then a little wait is necessary to make sure the oil is properly heated up. You should hear a sizzle when you next add the fresh seasoning—usually chopped garlic and ginger. Fry until fragrant to bring out the flavor and then add meat. Once meat is seared, add vegetables and seasonings. Toss to mix ingredients thoroughly and dish it out. If you see fire flaring up in the wok in Chinese restaurants, it is because the chef usually adds wine before dishing it out to add even more flavor. This is not necessary at home, unless you’re quite skill in the art of fire control.

Why Stir-fry?

An ingenious Peking man is believed to have created stir-fry with his use of fire to make his cuisine. Other accounts traced its beginning to the Chinese Stone Age, when rice and noodles became staples in the Chinese diet. However, it was Buwei Yang Chao (coincidently her last name, chao, means fry in Chinese) who coined the word “stir-fry” in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese.

Stir-fry has endured through generations and is increasingly becoming popular in the western world. There are good reasons for this growing trend:

  • Speed—Stir-fry is a quick process. This can be a good thing when hungry mouths are waiting and you need to produce something fast, so nobody gets hurt. A hungry person can be angry.
  • Another trick to cut down preparation time— you can grill, bake meat before hand and cut them into strips, ready to be toss in stir-fry when you get home from work.
  • Nutritious—The high heat and speed of stir-frying seal in flavor and since the cooking process is not stretched out as in baking, boiling or stewing, the nutritious value of food can be preserved. This is especially helpful when stir-frying vegetables, where prolonged cooking can destroy nutrients and vitamins.
  • Portion Control—There is much talk about using portion control to keep weight down. Stir-fry has a natural built-in capacity for that. How so? Often meat is sliced, diced, julienne even minced, so a little meat goes a long way. Instead of eating a slab of thick steak, this same piece can be sliced and tossed with lots of vegetables to produce a meal, enough to feed more than one person.
  • Complete Meal—Imagine fixing a complete meal in a short time—stir-fry can be paired with rice (white, brown, jasmine, basmati), noodles, couscous, quinoa or any whole grains to make a satisfying healthy meal.
  • Creative—You can really get creative with stir-fry by varying sauces used. Permutating sauces with the choices of meat or vegetables can give rise to interesting creations.

Now, let's get started. We'll start with a basic stir-fry dish:


Basic Chicken Stir-fry

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly or diced into cubes
  • 3 stalks of green scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 thumb of ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of cornstarch to thicken sauce

Combine all the above seasonings in a bowl and set aside.

Directions:

  • Use enough oil to coat your work
  • Heat up oil and add chopped garlic and ginger
  • Fry until fragrant escapes
  • Add sliced chicken and sautee until done
  • Add combined seasonings and toss to coat chicken evenly
  • Add scallions and mix well.

Dish out and serve with rice or dish it over pasta.

So, you just made a very basic chicken stir-fry. The process is easy—the stir-fry takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes. Add another 10 minutes of preparation and the main dish is ready in half an hour tops.

Basic Chicken Stir-Fry

I made this simply with garlic, ginger, chicken and traditional Asian seasonings.
I made this simply with garlic, ginger, chicken and traditional Asian seasonings.

Now, basic chicken stir-fry is like the little black dress—stunning and classy in its own rights. But this star quality can be accentuated (very much like accessorizing the little black dress) by adding some spunk and character. The effect can be totally arresting. Now, just how can you add more spunk? Here are some variations to dress it up:

Oil

Usually sesame oil is used in traditional Asian stir-fry but canola, peanut and corn oil will do as well. How about olive oil? Since olive oil disintegrates at a high temperature, it is not normally used in stir-fry.

Other Fresh Chopped Seasonings to consider:

  • Onion
  • Red dried chilies
  • White part of scallions
  • Lemon grass
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Dried orange rind or freshly thinly slices of orange rind
  • Jalapeno

Possibilities limited by creativity…..so go ahead and experiment.

Variation: Chicken Stir-fry with broccoli

Meat

Beef, shrimp, seafood, tofu (the other protein), pork are all good candidates.

In traditional Asian cooking, meat is often sliced or diced and marinated with soy sauce, salt, pepper and sherry with a little corn flour for added flavor. It is believed that corn flour makes the meat more tender.

Vegetables

Any vegetables can be used for stir-fry. Some vegetables, especially the denser kinds like radishes, cabbages, potatoes require more stir-frying and you may need to add a little water to soften them. Traditional Asian vegetables used include Bak choy, baby kalian, broccoli, green beans, snow peas, bean sprouts and spinach.

Fruits

Yes, you can add fruits too! Popular fruits include pineapple, apples, longans, lycees, dried goji berries, mango amongst others.

Herbs and Spices

Any herbs can be used. Dried herb seasonings can be used too, especially if you’re on a short time leash. You can also consider spices such as curry powder, chili powder or flakes, five spice powder, coriander, cinnamon and star anise.

Sauce

  • Teriyaki
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Shao hsing wine or sherry
  • Satay sauce
  • Chili paste
  • Dark soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • wine
  • broth
  • a little corn flour is added to thicken sauce

Often sauce is premixed as stir-fry is a quick process and leaves no time for fumbling.


Now, let's go play in the kitchen and try out some variations:

How do you get from this......

I marinated diced chicken in chili and parsley flakes. You can marinate just prior to stir-frying or allow the chicken to sit in seasonings for half hour. Even overnight.
I marinated diced chicken in chili and parsley flakes. You can marinate just prior to stir-frying or allow the chicken to sit in seasonings for half hour. Even overnight.

this-? Check out the easy recipe.

Spicy and flavorful--easy crowd pleaser.
Spicy and flavorful--easy crowd pleaser.

A closer look! Still looking good?

Let's dig in!
Let's dig in!

Chili Parsley Diced Stir-Fry Chicken

This simple chicken stir-fry is easy to make, especially if you're on a time crunch and need to whip out something healthy and delicious in a short time. All you need is some dried herbs. Even though, I've used Korean chili flakes and dried parsley flakes in this particular dish, feel free to use your favorite dried herbs or spices.

Recipe:

  • 2 chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely diced for garnishing (skip this if you're on an even tighter schedule)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of Korean chili flakes or any chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of corn flour
  • More salt if needed

Directions:

  • Marinate diced chicken with all the above seasonings in a large bowl.
  • Coat wok with oil and sautee chopped garlic until golden brown.
  • Add marinated chicken and cook until done,
  • Season with more salt and sugar if needed
  • Add a splash of sherry just before dishing it out

Dish it on plate, squeeze half a lime over the chicken

Garnish with scallion and serve.

Stir-fry Chicken with Tofu

If you love "pottering" around in the kitchen and time is not a factor, this dish will give you the opportunity to do just that. It is definitely more involved and more time consuming, but the result is totally worth the effort. Your dish will be so delicious and easy on the eyes, P.F. Chang may even be envious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, dice and marinate with some salt, pepper and sherry
  • 1 slab of firm tofu, cut into brick-like shapes
  • 1 thumb of ginger, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 5 to 6 dried red chili pods
  • 3 scallions, cut into 2" lengths
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 a large yellow onion, diced

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of sherry or Shao hsing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of corn flour
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Directions:

  • Coat diced marinated chicken in corn flour. Make sure it's evenly coated.
  • Fill  pan with just enough oil to pan fry until chicken turns golden brown.
  • Dish out and set aside
  • Pan fry tofu bricks in enough oil to brown them on both sides.
  • Dish out and set aside
  • Coat pan with oil
  • Add chopped garlic, ginger, red chili pods and sautee until fragrant
  • Add fried chicken, tofu, carrots
  • Lower heat and add combined seasonings
  • Toss to mix well.
  • Add more salt and sugar if needed.
  • Add scallion and mix well.

Dish it out and serve.

Since stir-frying is fast, it is essential to get all the basic ingredients ready before the actual stir-frying.

Did you guess correctly? Carrots, scallions, diced ginger, garlic, onion and dried red chili pods
Did you guess correctly? Carrots, scallions, diced ginger, garlic, onion and dried red chili pods

Fry lightly coated chicken until they're golden brown to give some crsip to the dish.

In restaurants, they usually deep fry the chicken, but I use an inch of oil instead--less oil, same effect.
In restaurants, they usually deep fry the chicken, but I use an inch of oil instead--less oil, same effect.

Pan fry tofu rectangles to retain shape and form as they tend to break apart otherwise.

In the same way, fry tofu (no corn flour needed) until golden brown.
In the same way, fry tofu (no corn flour needed) until golden brown.

Golden brown tofu ready to be tossed and appreciated!

So good, you can actually just eat this with some dipping sauce.
So good, you can actually just eat this with some dipping sauce.

And what do you get when you add chicken to tofu?--Chicken tofu stir-fry naturally.

Yummy with rice and quite a complete meal on its own.
Yummy with rice and quite a complete meal on its own.

As you can see, chicken stir-fry is easy to prepare. It also gives you room to invent or create new variations. I will end this hub with even more variations and recipes.


And as a common Chinese saying goes, "Eat first, talk later," enjoy!


Comments

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  • rkhyclak profile image

    rkhyclak 6 years ago from Ohio

    This all sounds wonderful! Going to bookmark this as I'll be trying each variation. Thanks!

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    The stir fry looks really good.

  • Amber Allen profile image

    Amber Allen 6 years ago

    All these recipes look good enough to eat!!! Amber:)

  • jill of alltrades profile image

    jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

    Wow! These are all yummy! I always make chicken stir-fry but I'm gonna try your recipes. I can almost taste them!

    Thanks for sharing these yummy recipes my friend!

    God bless!

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    rkhyclak, glad you find it useful. Thanks for dropping by and offering your comments.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Sandyspider, thanks for dropping by.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Amber allen, yes, they taste divine. Try them.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Jill, good to hear from u again. Try them, they're pretty easy and make a good main dish.

    God bless you too!

  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

    Hi angel, this is complete again, awesome and thumbs up again, Thnaks for your congratulatory note my dear, Take care, Maita

  • tom hellert profile image

    tom hellert 6 years ago from home

    mmmm stir fry tonight for sure we enjoy mushroom slices and waterchestnuts wheat rice but thanks my wife just asked what should we have for dinner- today will be 80+ out so we can wok outside and take the goodies to baseball. thanks again

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    YOu're welcome, Maita. Good going with your work.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Tom, you make me envious--a stir-fry dinner with baseball watching. Blast some music and rock to the wok--what could be better. Enjoy your dinner and send some over!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Anginwu, I love stir fry and do it quite often. This is a terrific hub with great directions and the pictures make me hungry. Thanks for the recipes.

  • HubPagesHottest profile image

    HubPagesHottest 6 years ago

    Hey, great Hub! So great infact that we featured it as our unofficial 'Hot Hub of The Day' on Twitter. Be sure to follow (if you are a Tweeter) and RT when we feature your Hubs for more traffic. 

    Have a great day - Hub Pages Hottest.

    http://twitter.com/HubPagesHottest

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Pamela, you're like my mother--I love seeing u on my hub. I love stir-fry too. Thanks for your lovely comments and yes, I'm featured on twitter! Woohoo!

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    HubpagesHottest, so happy to know that. Thank you so much for featuring it.

    You have a great day too!

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Chicken is my favorite. You have combination recipes between chicken and tofu. Good work, my friend. Thanks for share this recipes. It must be delicious. As usual I rate this Up.

    Prasetio

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Thanks, Prasetio, for sharing your thoughts. Thanks for rating it up.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hey, congrats on the nom! You got my vote. :)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Congratualtions on your nominated this week for this outstanding hub.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Om, thank you so much. I really love your hub--you're a winner to me:)

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Pamela, thank you so much. I greatly appreciate that.

  • Money Glitch profile image

    Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

    Oh my goodness, I am sooo hungry now. This is a great hub and your personal dishes look sooo good. Congrats, Anglnwu on being selected as a "Best Hub" nominee this week. Good luck my friend. :)

  • charanjeet kaur profile image

    charanjeet kaur 6 years ago from Delhi

    Chicken is my favourite and this dish made me fall in love with this all over again. Lovely images, great layout and directions made it a fun hub. A very well deserved nomination for best hub, my best wishes for winning it as well.

  • ReuVera profile image

    ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

    I love chicken stir-fry with rice. Thank you for another great hub full of great ideas. I am going to print out your cooking hubs and assemble them into a book. You should publish your cook-book.

    And I was very glad to lean about your nomination! Congrats!

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

    We love chicken stir-fries! Thanks for some new ideas, and congrats!

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

    Great job and love stir-fry too. Super ideas and love the getting away from 'this'.

  • Loren's Gem profile image

    Loren's Gem 6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

    I don't usually prefer stir-frying but after reading this hub, I started to change my mind. Thanks for sharing such scumptous stir-fry recipes! Rating it up! :-)

  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

    Congrats my dear angel, visiting again here to give support! Maita

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    MG, thanks for coming by with your comments. Appreciate your well-wishes.

    charanjeet, thanks for your wishes. i love chicken too--my favorite white meat.

    Vera, lol, thanks for vote of approval. We'll collaborate on a Russian-Chinese cook book?

    habee, my highly revered one, thanks for your well-wishes.

    akirchner, thank you for dropping by to say hi.

    Loren's gem, you'll find stir-fry is quite easy and tasty. Thanks for dropping by.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Sweet maita, thanks. have a good summer!

  • jennshealthstore profile image

    Jenn 6 years ago from Florida

    This looks sooo good. It made me hungry! Nice.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Tofu is my favorite. Good combination between tofu and chicken. Do you have some more for me? you make me hungry, my friend. I'll show your recipes to my Mom. I think she liked this one. Thank you very much. I rate this hub.

    Prasetio

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Thanks, jennshealthstore, for dropping by.

    Prasetio, always good to hear from u. Thanks for rating it up. I'm glad your mother may like this.

  • boxxies profile image

    boxxies 6 years ago

    Just bookmarked the video for further investigation.

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Thanks, boxxies--happy investigation.

  • pinkdaisy profile image

    pinkdaisy 6 years ago from Canada

    Yummy! Thanks for the recipe :)

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 6 years ago

    Thanks, pinkdaisy.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Great pictures! we love chicken stir fry, but I need to get more adventurous with it!

    Fabulous recipes here, many thanks for sharing and a thank you from my grateful husband too!

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 5 years ago

    MM, you can't go wrong with chicken. Feel free to experiment and I'm sure Nick wouldn't mind being the "tasty tester" as I call it. My kids are often roped in to test try new dishes. They are my ruthless tasty testers. Thanks to you and Nick too.

  • sweetie1 profile image

    sweetie1 5 years ago from India

    Hi anginwu, your hub and beautiful pictures made my mouth water. I am going to try few of these dishes myself. Book marked this page. Thanks for sharing

  • anglnwu profile image
    Author

    anglnwu 5 years ago

    sweetie, thanks for dropping by to comment. Glad you're going to try some of them. Have fun and enjoy your food!

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