Easy recipes for the newbie cook, the beginner in the kitchen, the nervous novice: we all had to start somewhere, and you can start right here.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Stir Fry Chicken Recipe

I’m getting a bit of a queue of recipe requests at the moment, and will do my best to get to them in the next few days; here I’m going to continue on the theme of healthy, but sustaining recipes for the cold winter days – although this particular dish is good at any time of year.

This chicken stir fry recipe is so quick, easy and simple that it will be ready almost before you have warmed the plates, laid the table and thought about what to do with the rest of the evening.

You could easily substitute a fairly tender bit of steak (rump, maybe rather than the more costly but less flavoursome fillet), pork, lamb, prawn/shrimp, or pretty much anything you like.  If you’re vegetarian, substitute tofu, nuts, or another protein that you enjoy.

Serve with rice or noodles, or, if you’re going the low carb/paleo diet route, how about on a nice pile of steamed pak choi or cabbage, perhaps dressed with soy sauce and sesame oil?

A stir fry is one of those meals where you do have to have everything prepared beforehand; have everything peeled, chopped, in reach and ready to go before you start.

Stir Fry Chicken


4-6oz/110-170g chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces, per person
2-3oz/55-85g mushrooms, chopped or sliced if large, per person
1 spring onion/scallion sliced into rounds, green and white parts, per person
1 clove garlic, crushed or diced, per person
Fresh ginger, shredded or diced fine, same quantity as garlic
A splash or two of soy sauce, to your preference and taste
A little oil, for stir frying – groundnut/peanut oil is ideal, as the flavour is neutral and will take the high temperature; olive oil, for example, will burn.
A small dash of sesame oil, to add at the end, for flavour; unless you really like it, sesame oil is too strong to use for the frying.

A splash or two of water, as needed (see method)

Optional: fresh chilli finely diced, or a splash of chilli sauce, homemade or shopbought, as much or little as you like
Also optional: you could also add a pinch or two of five spice powder, or any other Asian/Chinese flavouring/aromatic you like and have to hand.


Have a warm bowl ready.  Heat a wok or large frying pan to as high a temperature as you dare – it should be smoking.  Add a splash of oil, swirl around, and add the chicken – if you are cooking a lot, you may need to do it in batches.  Stir, stir and keep stirring – I use a slotted spoon, but you can use special wok tools if you have them.  The chicken pieces will quickly turn white on the outsides.  Keep them moving.  After only a few minutes, five at most, the chicken will be perfect.  Check with a probe thermometer (75C/165F), or cut the thickest piece in half to check that it is white all the way through.  Don’t overcook the chicken – catch it when it’s “just done” and still juicy.  Remove the chicken to the warm bowl.

If necessary, add a little more oil, then add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, and chilli if using.  Stir fry frantically for a minute or two.  Don’t let the garlic burn.  If the veg are still looking a little undercooked, add a splash of water – this will very quickly steam through the vegetables.   Return the chicken to the wok/pan, add the soy, sesame oil, and any other flavourings.  Stir well for a minute or two until the chicken is thoroughly reheated.  If necessary, and things are starting to stick, add a little more water, and let it bubble down.  Taste, add salt and pepper as required, and serve immediately.

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