"Chicken and Baby Corn Stir-Fry"
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb of ginger, minced
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
package of sugar-snap peas or snow peas
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can baby corn, drained
1 teaspoon sesame oil
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir until cornstarch dissolves, then set aside.
Peel and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Mince 1 thumb of ginger, which doesn't need peeling unless you just want to. Put the minced aromatics in a small bowl and set aside. (Make sure your wok spatula fits inside that bowl.)
Place half a sweet onion flat side down, and slice so that it makes half-circles. Those will come apart into crescents when cooked. Set aside.
Rinse the pea pods. Remove the tips and the strings if there are any. Break the pods in half, or thirds if they are large. You should have bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Take 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts and cut them into finger-size strips. Set aside.
Heat the wok. Add 2 tablespoons sunflower oil and swirl to coat the wok.
Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds.
Put in the sliced onion. Stir-fry until the slices come apart into crescents and begin to turn translucent, but not fully cooked.
Add the pea pods. Stir-fry until they start to get tender, but not mushy. (You can also steam the peas and add them late with the baby corn.)
Put in the chicken strips. Stir-fry until browned on all sides.
Add the baby corn. Stir-fry briefly to warm through.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. At first it will be liquid and pool in the bottom of the wok. Stir-fry until the sauce turns thick and glossy, clinging to the other ingredients. The chicken should be fully cooked and the vegetables as tender as you want them.
Remove the wok from heat. Pour 1 teaspoon sesame oil over the chicken and vegetables, then stir to combine.
This recipe makes about 4 servings. Spoon it over rice, noodles, or another starchy base.
I like using half a cup of chicken stock as a sauce base for stir-frying chicken. It does add flavor, and the sauce still thickens right up after a minute or two. I will probably freeze the remainder variously in half-cup and tablespoon amounts.
I think the oyster sauce is okay. It has a salty, sour, savory flavor.
There was a bitter, almost burnt note in the dish that we think came from the sesame oil. This recipe added it last, as a top dressing, rather than as part of the sauce. Even though there was only a teaspoon of it instead of a tablespoon, it was overpowering when first added, but blended in slowly as it heated up. So I put the wok back on the heat and that helped more. We like the sesame oil better as a sauce ingredient to be cooked in, rather than as a top dressing added at the end. We definitely don't want to add it last again.
Options for future exploration:
* Keep the sesame oil but put it in the sauce.
* Replace sesame oil with the same amount of rice vinegar.
* Replace the sesame oil with the same amount of mirin.
This time all of the vegetables came out tender with a little texture. The baby corn was softly crunchy, the sugar-snap peas similar and might have benefited from a bit more cooking time. The onions, which went in before the peas, were perfect. This particular recipe won't ever have fully soft vegetables because of the baby corn, so having them similar in texture worked out well.
The chicken was great, tender and flavorful. Cut long strips in half to bite size so that it's similar to the other ingredients.
Overall, we both liked this recipe. It came out considerably better than the pineapple chicken. We would like to try it again some time and have ideas for minor tweaks to improve it.