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Chicken Stir Fry

This easy Chicken Stir fry recipe is better than your favorite takeout and heather too! It’s a QUICK one-skillet dinner loaded with tender chicken, garlic ginger stir fry sauce, tender-crisp veggies and crunchy peanuts or cashews. This Chicken Stir Fry recipe utilizes the easy restaurant velveting technique to produce smooth, tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken you will have to taste to believe! Now get giddy for a wonderfully versatile, filling, healthy and satisfyingly delicious go-to chicken stir fry!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

VELVETING (for chicken breasts/not necessary for thighs)

STIR FRY SAUCE

STIR FRY

  • 1/2 large yellow onion cut into 1” pieces
  • 3 cups broccoli florets (bite size)
  • 3 carrots thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1” pieces
  • 4-6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 oz. Snow peas
  • 1/4 cup roasted UNSALTED peanuts or cashews

Instructions

  • Add the velveting ingredients to a large freezer bag or bowl; whisk to combine. Add chicken and turn until evenly coated. Let sit at room temperature while you prep your veggies; preferable 30 minutes (no more).
  • Meanwhile, whisk Stir Fry Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.* Once very hot, add chicken in a single layer and cook until golden; flip chicken over and cook an additional 2 minutes, until browned on all sides (does not need to be cooked through). Remove chicken to a plate.
  • To the now empty pan (don’t wipe out), heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. Stir fry until vegetables are crisp tender, about 3 minutes. (Don’t over-cook because they will continue to cook in sauce). Add garlic and ginger to the veggies and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Whisk sauce (to recombine) and add to pan along with chicken. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce to a simmer until sauce has thickened;1-2 minutes. Stir in snow peas and cashews and cook an additional minute.
  • Garnish with additional chili sauce, green onions, salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Notes

Tips and Tricks 

  • *The pics show a stainless steel skillet but I suggest a nonstick skillet otherwise you'll have to use more oil in order for the chicken not to stick and tear. 
  • Prep veggies and sauce first.  While your chicken is resting, chop all your veggies and prep your sauce.  You want everything ready before you start your stir fry because the actually cooking just takes a few minutes. If you have to stop to make your sauce while your veggies are still in the pan, they can end up soft and even worse – mushy.
  • How to chop ingredients.  The most important key to making a good stir-fry is cutting each ingredient to a uniform size as specified in the recipe. As detailed earlier in the recipe, chop the long cooking vegetables smaller and the short cooking vegetables larger.
  • Dry vegetables.  It is important that the vegetables are very dry or they will steam and not get the characteristic stir-fry texture. To dry vegetables, pat them thoroughly with a kitchen towel or use a salad spinner.  
  • Cook chicken first.  Don’t cook the chicken and veggies together because we want to brown the chicken (color + flavor) which can’t happen with all the veggies in the pan.  The chicken will also leave behind yummy brown bits which will give the chicken flavor.
  • Hot but not too hot skillet. Your pan should be hot enough so that the chicken and veggies sizzle when they touch the pan and continue to sizzle but the pan shouldn’t be so hot that it smokes excessively once you add the oil.  If the pan is smoking hot, remove it from heat, let it cool slightly then return to heat. To determine if the wok is hot enough, flick a few droplets of water onto the skillet or wok.  The beads of water should evaporate within 2 seconds. 
  • Don’t overcook chicken.  For the juiciest chicken, don’t overcook!  Brown it in the skillet but let it finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Don’t overcook veggies.  I suggest setting the timer for 3 minutes for the initial stir frying of your veggies – it can go fast and you don’t want to overcook them initially.  It is better to under-cook them when stir frying then allow them to reach desired-crisp tenderness once you add the stir fry sauce.
  • Add sauce to the sides of the pan.  Pour the stir fry sauce around and down the sides of the pan instead of directly into the center.  This will prevent the pan from cooling down too much.  

Prep AHEAD

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Let the sauce sit at room temperature while preparing the stir-fry; whisk again before using.
  • Add the velveting ingredients to a large Ziploc bag.
  • Chop chicken and store in a separate container in the refrigerator.
  • Chop the veggies, garlic and ginger and store in separate baggies/containers in the refrigerator.
  • Within the next 48 hours, proceed with the recipe without any of the prep!

Storage

This easy chicken stir fry reheats wonderfully for lunches or dinners, just take care to not overcook the veggies. 
  • How to store:  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • How to reheat in microwave: transfer small portions to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, stir then continue to heat at 30 second intervals. 
  • How to reheat on the stove: For larger portions, rewarm gently in a large skillet, stirring often.  You may need to add a splash of water (better yet chicken broth if you have it) to thin the sauce as needed.

CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN Stir fry?

I do not recommend freezing the chicken stir fry once assembled because the veggies can become a mushy texture, but you can freeze the chicken and stir fry sauce separately.
  • Stir Fry Sauce: Whisk together, add to a freezer bag or freezer safe airtight container, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.  Defrost in the refrigerator before using.