Friday, January 25, 2013

Peanut Honey Chicken Stirfry

I think my family would literally starve if it wasn't for stir fry, I not kidding, they would waste away into nothingness. if we are particularly busy I may make a form of stir fry weekly sometimes three or four times a week. It is an easy, on the go, healthy and versatile meal.                                                                           

 I swear one of these days I will stop taking pictures at 8:00 at night and start preparing food during daylight hours. But until then I'll just have craptastic pictures with flash and horrible lighting. Just for the record, my sauce looks incredibly thick here, too thick actually, it wasn't lumpy or that thick the picture is just not a good one. 

This stir fry is my "basic" stir fry. Sometimes I change the peanut butter for other flavors. I've listed some substitutions and other combinations below. The veggies are something I rotate in and out. This time it was a pre-cut frozen stir fry pack, I ditched the packaged sauce for my own though. The usual suspects are any combination of broccoli, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, onions or cabbage. My favorite is bok choy but it isn't always available everywhere. I don't know exactly how many veggies to tell you, mine is usually fairly veggie heavy, excluding the one pictured. I usually do a full head of broccoli or bok choy or both and 5 to 6 carrots but that is my favorite combination. That should give you an idea of where to start. I often omit chicken or meat completely and go full on veggie. Remember vegatables cook down in size so when you're staring at a mountain of veg you'll only have about half of that by the time it is all done. Basically this is the most versatile way for me to get good foods into my family and make it quickly with little effort. I can chop everything the night before or early in the morning or even buy pre-chopped frozen veggies to thaw along with the meat. Minute rice is even an option to speed things along.

This recipes makes a lot of sauce. I like mine sauce my husband not so much so when serving I'll plate it up with less sauce and reserve some on the ise for me. You could cut the amount of sauce back if you so desire. 

I know this seems like a lot of food, and it is. This usually feeds two adults and one child dinner and then again for lunch the next day and often at least one more meal out of it for one of us.

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch chunk of ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil

4-6 boneless chicken breast cut into chunks

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer the natural type that is still a bit grainy)
1/8 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice
2 table spoons sesame oil plus extra for cooking
1 tablespoon of Sriracha (I tend to add more afterwards so that I don't have little ones breathing fire)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 tablespoons of water
coconut or peanut oil for cooking

your choice of approx 6-8 cups of veggies

and 4-6 cups of cooked rice, I use brown or jasmine
(You can stir fry the rice but my guys prefer it light and fluffy)

Start but combining all of the ingredients for the marinade into a large gallon sized freezer bag or casserole dish with a lid. Add chicken in or toss to coat. Let it marinate for 30 minutes or more.
Start by making your sauce.

For sauce whisk together soy sauce, peanut butter and honey.Whisk in vinegar/lime juice and Sriracha. Slowly add sesame oil while whisking. Set aside.

Start cooking with your veggies. Put your wok or skillet on medium-high, add 1/2 tbsp of cooking oil add veggies in along with a few drops of sesame oil, not too much, that stuff is strong. Sauteed your veggies until tender crisp and set aside. You may need to add more cooking oil at this point. Add your chicken sauteed until brown. Then add sauce simmer until chicken is cooked through. Once chicken is cooked through remove chicken from sauce and set aside. Bring sauce back to a boil. Combine water and cornstarch. Stir slurry into boiling sauce and whisk well so that lumps do not form. Boil one minute or until sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat. I like to serve mine layered on a large platter, starting with rice, then veggies, chicken next topped with sauce and peanuts. However sometimes I make my family's plates for them and layer it in the same way in a large bowl.

Some nice substitutions are mango puree, curry paste, coconut milk or orange juice instead of peanut butter. Very often I may combine some of the flavors. Orange and coconut milk are wonderful as well as coconut milk and curry paste. You will also need to modify your measurements and other ingredients also. For example you may choose to omit the honey with the curry paste. If all of these flavors are just too much for you swap in a chicken stock. (beef for steak and veggie for vegetables ) 

Something else to consider, if I sub steak for chicken I like to lower or omit the peanut butter and up the soy sauce. I leave the peanut butter out totally for shrimp and scallops. We prefer the seafood  with either the coconut or fruit sauces.