Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jade Chicken. Or, Why Fried Mint is Awesome

The first Asian cookbook I bought was Martin Yan's Quick and Easy.  Stir fry was one of the first cooking methods I attempted because it's quick and doesn't involve tons of prep work.  Initially, I failed to heat the oil hot enough, which resulted in below average stir fry.  Then, I read Yan's introduction in Quick and Easy and learned how to properly heat the oil to a high enough temperature.  Since I got a round bottomed wok, my stir fries are infinitely better.  If you have a gas stove, round bottomed woks are awesome. 

This recipe for Jade Chicken is one of the first stir fry dishes I ever made.  I still make it pretty often.  It's simple and the mixture of crispy fried mint and mint that was stirred into the sauce is unexpected and different.  The crispy fried mint is my favorite, and I usually make extra to put on top of the chicken.  The broccoli side dish is broccoli stir fried with ginger and Chinese cooking wine.  I love it because it takes 5 minutes to make.  Really.  5 minutes.  I make rice in my rice cooker, it's idiot proof and definitely one of my MVP kitchen appliances.  I'm not a huge fan of plain white rice, so I put a little rice vinegar in mine after I dish it out.

Jade Chicken
from Martin Yan's Quick and Easy
Serves 2

1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp corn starch
*This is the marinade for 4 servings, but I find that halving the marinade doesn't cover the chicken very well.

Stir Fry
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/8 c veggie oil
3/4 cup packed mint leaves (this is the full amount for 4 servings but I love it and don't mind the extra)
1 red jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (I can never find red jalapenos, so I use a green one)
1/8 c Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1.5 tsp chili garlic sauce (I ended up using more for extra spice)
1 tsp sesame oil

1) Marinate the chicken.  Mix marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add chicken.  Mix well so the chicken is evenly coated.  Let it sit for 10 minutes.
2)  Fry the mint.  Put the oil in the wok and heat over high heat. add 1/2 cup of the mint leaves and fry until crisp, 30 seconds or less.  Place on a paper towel to drain, set aside.
3)  Stir Fry.  Dump all but 1 Tbsp oil out of the wok and return it to the heat.  Add the chicken and jalapeno and stir fry until the chicken is cooked, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add wine and chili garlic sauce and stir fry for another 30 seconds.
4) Finish the stir fry.  Add the non fried mint and sesame oil, remove the wok from the heat, and stir well so that the mint wilts and gets mixed with the chicken.
5) Serve with rice and garnish with fried mint.

When I make this broccoli side dish, I cook it before my main dish and then keep it warm in my warming drawer.  Putting it in a bowl with tin foil over it works as well.  
Quick Stir Fry Broccoli
from Martin Yan's Quick and Easy
Serves 2

Enough broccoli florets for 2 people.
1 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/8 cup Chinese rice wine
1 tsp soy sauce (I use low sodium)
2 tsp vegetable oil

1) Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets into bite sized chunks.  Boil broccoli for 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with plenty of cold water. 
2) Heat the wok.  When the oil is hot, add the ginger and stir fry until it's fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3) Add broccoli, Chinese rice wine, and soy sauce.  Stir fry for one minute.  Serve. 


Taste of Beirut said...

If I had a gas range, I would be making stir-fries a lot more often! I have tried it on the bbq and it works too. Nice recipe and fried mint is a new one for me. To try.

Scienter said...

I learned how to cook on an electric range and my stir fries weren't nearly as good. I don't know if it's because I had the Cheapest Wok on Earth or because it wasn't round bottomed. ;)


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