Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

The latest issue of Cooking Light had a section with 25 chicken recipes and this was one of them. Since I have not made a stir-fry in quite a while, this spicy one was calling my name. The stir-fry consisted of chicken, red and yellow pepper strips, snow peas, onions, fresh garlic and ginger. It also had a sauce flavored with dark sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal oelek (chile paste) and cornstarch to thicken and glaze everything. The recipe called for chicken breasts, but I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I had on hand. I did adapt the recipe slightly by allowing the chicken thigh pieces to cook longer in a 400 degree oven, covered with foil to cook through a little more. This dish had a really nice heat, not too hot and not leaving you wanting more heat. It was perfect.

This was served over long-grain white rice and garnished with sliced scallions and chopped peanuts and the whole serving came in at 420 calories (using chicken breast) which really isn't bad for a full flavored stir-fry.

Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry
Adapted from Cooking Light, January/February

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup snow peas
1/2 cup vertically sliced onion
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
sliced scallions for garnish
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts for garnish

Combine 2 teaspoons sesame oil, chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chile paste, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon canola oil; swirl. Add chicken, stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil; swirl. Add bell peppers, snow peas, onion, ginger and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add broth mixture; cook 30 seconds or until thick. Return chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Spoon 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 plates; top each with 1 cup chicken mixture, scallions and peanuts.

Serves 4

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