Ah, such is the month of January, when the holiday decadence is over and we look toward exercise and healthy eating once again!
A few evenings after work I go to the gym, which is good and bad; good because I’m getting exercise, but bad because when I get home all I want to do is EAT! This recipe from the September Cooking Light magazine is a frequent supper on those nights; if you prep everything the night or morning before, all you have to do is toss it in the skillet and dinner is ready quicker than if you called out for Chinese! It’s also a healthy option that you make at home with good protein and vegetables.
I hope you’re not put off by the Chinese ingredient list; many supermarkets now sell items such as sambal oelek and fish sauce. Gone are the days of having to go to the specialty Asian markets for such exotic ingredients. And they last forever in the refrigerator, and when I say last forever, I mean years!
The original recipe called to be served over sesame rice; this is how I make it. Add 1 cup of brown rice or 1 ½ cups of boiling water. Turn to low, stir, and when it is done cooking, add some sesame seeds and a little drizzle of sesame oil. I like the hot kind.
Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
From the September 2012 issue of Cooking Light magazine
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (These are optional for me)
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients, stirring well; set aside.
2. Heat a large wok or large heavy skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; stir-fry 4 minutes or until browned and done. Remove chicken from wok. Add remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to wok; swirl to coat. Add sugar snap peas, bell pepper, and red onion; stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in brown sugar mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in chicken; toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts.
• I frequently can’t find fresh snap peas in the supermarket, so I substitute shelled frozen edamame, green beans, or peas, or you can just add more peppers if you prefer.
• For a vegetarian version, you can bump up the veggies and add some tofu. Or just all veggies. The secret is in the sauce!