If you made the chicken stock I posted earlier this week, I have an excellent use for it. This Egg Drop Wonton Soup combines two Chinese takeout favorites in one easy and delicious meal. Frozen dumplings ramp up the convenience factor, and help turn this read more
It’s that time of year! Bright green, succulent stalks of asparagus are at the market again. And my Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry is the best way to showcase them. Asparagus needs a quick cooking method to really let their delicate flavor shine, so a stir fry is ideal. Add a savory sauce and tender, marinated chicken and you have a complete meal, perfect to welcome Spring.
Marinate the Chicken
I usually use chicken thighs in recipes because I find them more flavorful, but breasts cook more quickly and this is a very fast stir fry dish. I infuse them with extra flavor by briefly marinating them before cooking. I add a little cornstarch to it as well, which helps create a velvety texture and also protects the chicken from the high heat that we’ll be using. This Chinese technique is a restaurant standard in producing tender, moist meats while still being able to use blisteringly high cooking temperatures.
I set the chicken aside to marinate while I get everything else prepped. You can also prep the chicken the day before and store it in the fridge until ready to use.
Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry Sauce
This classic stir fry deserves a classic sauce and we include all of the powerhouse ingredients like soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil, and white pepper. Just whisk everything together and set aside. If you’ve noticed in most of my recipes, I like to make the sauce separately and then add it later to the dish. There are a couple reasons I do this.
First of all, it’s a habit. In restaurants, we never add a little of this and a little of that to make the sauce that goes into a dish. In a kitchen with many cooks, that’s the makings of a disaster. The only way to have consistency in food and having it taste the same all the time is by having the sauce prepped and ready to use. It’s the closest you can have to a guarantee that the food will taste the same each time.
Second, it’s too easy to forget something in the heat of the moment. When you have more that two or three things that go into a dish, it’s very easy to forget something when you’re busy. Better to know that your sauce is right there at your fingertips rather than scrambling to get the soy sauce or measure out the cornstarch as your chicken starts to smoke before your eyes.
And finally, I like to keep my kitchen as organized as possible while I’m cooking. I hate looking at the kitchen after I’m done cooking and seeing a mountain of clean up ahead of me. It takes a little bit of joy away from my meal. So once I make the sauce, I can put everything away before I start cooking.
While you can it most of the year now, asparagus is at its peak in Spring. Look for firm stalks, with tightly closed tips. Stay away from discolored stalks or any packages that look wet. I prefer fat spears of asparagus if I have a choice. They have better flavor and texture and they have good heft for a stir fry. But the bottom line is freshness. Get whatever looks the best at the market.
The bottom couple inches of the spears are too tough and woody to eat, so first you need to remove it. If you bend a spear, it will snap in the exact right spot. I can quickly snap through the bunch in a minute. If you find this tedious, you can snap one and then eye ball where to cut off the ends with the knife. Just hold the bunch in one hand and cut off all of the ends in one shot. Once you’ve discarded the woody ends, cut the spears into short lengths and set aside.
Stir Fry Time!
Now that the chicken is marinated, the sauce is ready, and the asparagus is prepped, it’s time to stir fry. Remember the cardinal rules of stir frying, which are especially important in this Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry because it’s so quick:
- Prep all your ingredients and have them within reach.
- Preheat your pan first. (FOR SEVERAL MINUTES)
- Then add the oil.
- Keep it moving!
Now I continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through, which is just a minute or two. Altogether the cook time should only be about 5 minutes. You can’t beat that!
Love how quickly stir fries get dinner on the table? Check out:
When you try this delightful Spring stir fry, let me know that you think. Rate and leave a comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
Stir Fry Sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ cup chicken stock
Marinate the chicken:
- Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise.
- Slice the chicken into thin pieces.
- Combine the sliced chicken, cornstarch, water, oil, and oyster sauce in a medium bowl and mix well until the chicken absorbs the mixture.
- Set the chicken aside while you prep the other ingredients.
Make the sauce:
- Mix the shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, and chicken stock together.
- Stir to combine.
- Set the sauce aside, leaving a fork in the sauce so you can stir it again later.
For the Stir Fry:
- Rinse the asparagus and remove about 1 1/2 inches of the tough bottom ends. (If you bend a stalk, it will snap right off).
- Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat a large 12 inch pan over high heat for several minutes. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat.
- Lay the chicken slices in the pan in one layer and let it cook undisturbed for 20 seconds and then use a pair of tongs, chopsticks, or spatula to stir fry it another 30-40 seconds until the chicken is almost cooked but still a little underdone.
- Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan.
- Stir fry for 30 seconds moving the contents of the pan around constantly. Lower the heat to medium high.
- Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled to the bottom of the container and add the sauce to the pan. Mix to combine.
- Continue stirring, letting the sauce bubble and thicken, cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with a little salt or pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a large plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: asparagus, stir fry, chicken , chinese, spring, Shaoxing wine
As Lunar New Year continues, we are celebrating with a new spin on a classic dish. This Shanghai Bok Choy dish is an oldie but a goodie. Tender baby bok choy is cooked with earthy shiitake mushrooms in an umami packed sauce. The final dish is so beautifully plated it gets everyone excited to eat their veggies.
Traditionally, this recipe is made with dried shiitake mushrooms. But my husband really dislikes dried shiitakes and will usually eat around them when they are in a dish. He finds them funky (not in a good way!) and musty. In order to avoid having to eat all of the mushrooms myself, and leaving him with a somewhat boring plate of plain bak choy, I decided to use fresh mushrooms instead. In addition, the baby Shanghai Bok Choy caught my eye at the store so of course, I bought them. And these cute little guys cook up fast!
In my humble opinion, you can never have too many quick vegetable sides in your repertoire. They are a great way to add variety, color, and health on the table. This speedy Shanghai Bok Choy recipe is on the table in 20 minutes, so let’s get into it!
Shanghai Bok Choy
The Shanghai variety of bok choy is more mild than regular bok choy, which is the dark green and white veggie that you’ve probably all seen before. The leaves of Shanghai Bok Choy are smooth and oval shaped and it’s a more compact size. Both can be used interchangeably. Shanghai Bok Choy comes in a couple of different sizes, as you can see below, but seek out the little baby ones so you can make this adorable presentation. Added bonus? The baby ones cook super fast so you can leave them whole.
If you’re using regular sized Shanghai Bok Choy, cut them in half lengthwise before continuing with the recipe.
It Starts with Sauce
How do you get the vegetable resistant people in your life to try something new? Prepare it with an addictive sauce. This is simple to make, but the flavor is anything but. Shaoxing wine adds a complex tang, oyster sauce brings richness and thickens it up (look for vegetarian versions if you want this to be vegan), and soy sauce adds deep umami flavor. I use stock for some liquid-you can use either chicken or veggie stock. A little sugar, toasted sesame oil, and a dash of white pepper rounds it out. You can sub black pepper, but white pepper has more of an earthy funk that I love here. Everything gets a quick whisk, and then set it aside.
Prep the Veggies
Now that the sauce is ready, it’s time to clean the Shanghai bok choy. Like leeks, they can have a lot of hidden dirt and grit, so a thorough washing is essential. I soak them in a bowl of water for a couple minutes and then swish them around with my hands to make sure any dirt falls out. Do this a couple of times to be safe. Nothing is worse than biting into gritty vegetables-been there.
When you go shopping for shiitakes, you will notice several different kinds. The best are the ones that look like turtles. They have a crackly cap and a deep dark color. The best quality dried mushrooms come from these “turtle” shiitakes. The next best type are the ones I’m using today. They have thick juicy caps and have a nice flavor. Part of the joy of eating shiitakes is the “toothsomeness” which is very important, so I avoid the thin flimsy shiitakes that cook out a ton of water and shrink to nothing.
For the preparation, I just remove the tough stem. Unless they are huge, I like to leave them whole.
The slurry will make a nicely thickened sauce. Taste it and adjust for seasoning, and then pile the saucy mushrooms into the center of the Shanghai bok choy.
Don’t save this dish for the new year. Shanghai Bok Choy is a perfect side for:
Or make it a Meatless Monday meal and pair with any of these:
However you enjoy this Shanghai Bok Choy, we want to hear about it! Rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 pound baby shanghai bok choy
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms (about 9–10 mushrooms)
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, divided
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- A dash ground white pepper
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Combine the shaoxing wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper.
- Mix well and set aside.
- Trim the base of the shanghai bok choy if dry or dirty.
- Soak the bok choy in a large bowl of water in the sink for a minute. Then, using your hands, stir the vegetables to release any dirt or sand. Repeat this process a couple of times or as necessary, until the water is clean and there is no sand or dirt at the bottom of the bowl.
- Trim the shiitake stems and discard. Set the mushrooms aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, and half of the minced garlic.
- Stir for a couple of seconds and then add the bok choy. Stir to combine.
- Add ½ cup of chicken stock, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes, using chopsticks or tongs to flip them around several times to cook them evenly.
- Arrange the bok choy attractively on a platter in a ring shape, leaving the center open for the mushrooms. Drain any remaining liquid from the bok choy in the pan and return it to the stove.
- Again heat the pan over medium high heat. Add 1Tablespoon neutral oil, the remaining minced garlic, and mushrooms. Stir fry for 10 seconds.
- Stir in the sauce, lower heat to medium, cover with the lid, and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Combine the water and cornstarch, making sure it’s completely smooth, and slowly pour it into the sauce while stirring constantly. Let the mushrooms cook for an additional minute and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper as needed.
- The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Add a little hot water if the sauce is too thick or more cornstarch slurry if the sauce is too thin.
- Transfer the mushrooms and sauce to the center of your Shanghai bok choy ring, and serve immediately.
*I used baby shanghai bok choy which is about ½ the size of regular shanghai bok choy. I like that I can use it whole. If you are using regular shanghai bok choy, trim the base and cut it in half lengthwise before using.
*If you are using boxed stock, taste the sauce before adding any additional salt. Some commercial stocks are very salty.
Keywords: bok choy, plant based, veggie sides, shiitakes