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