Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chicken and Bok Choy

I wanted to try cooking bok choy with something else this time. I found this recipe, which looked like a good one. But when I read it more carefully, I noticed that the directions were totally confusing. It literally would be impossible to follow them as they were written. So Steve and I put our heads together and came up with the following variation.

½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken pieces (I used thighs), thinly sliced
Shoyu/soy sauce or tamari (a couple tablespoons), divided
3/4 T. plus 1 t. cornstarch, divided
Oyster sauce (a tablespoon or so)
1 t. sugar
2 T. water
Neutral-flavored cooking oil (a few tablespoons), divided
Bok choy (1 bunch)
1/4 t. salt
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated (a microplane works well for grating ginger; grate it lengthwise)
Freshly pressed garlic (a couple cloves)
Sriracha (optional)

Combine the chicken, about a tablespoon of shoyu, and ¾ T. of the cornstarch. Set aside.

Mix together the oyster sauce, sugar, water, the remaining tablespoon or so of shoyu, and the remaining 1 t. of cornstarch. Set aside.

Clean the bok choy according to my guidelines for storing and preparing vegetables. Then separate the stem sections of the bok choy from the greens. Slice the stem sections lengthwise into strips, then chop them into sections (I chop the stems into thin, inchlong pieces because of our younger eaters, but you can chop them into larger pieces if you want). Roughly chop the greens also, but keep them separate from the stems.

Heat the skillet or wok, then add a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the bok-choy stems and the salt, and stir-fry until the stems are crisp-tender. Remove from skillet/wok.

Let the skillet/wok cool somewhat (this will make the difference between cooked garlic and burnt garlic). Put the remaining couple tablespoons of oil in the skillet/wok. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant but not burnt; the mixture should be just starting to stick to the bottom of the skillet/wok. Add the chicken slices, and stir-fry until cooked through. Add the bok choy stems and greens, and cook until the greens start to wilt. Then add the oyster-sauce mixture. Turn the heat to high, and stir to combine. Cook until mixture really starts to sizzle and the liquid reduces considerably, then remove from skillet.

Serve with Sriracha if desired.

This was really, really good--definitely something we'll make again. (Here's where we pat ourselves on the back for our resourcefulness in the face of recipe roadblocks.) The flavor of the sauce was excellent and, as a bonus, would be very transferable to other Asian stir-fry dishes. You could change the type of veggie(s) and the type of protein and still end up with a delicious meal.

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