Stir fry is a handy technique to have in your repertoire. Like my favorite Savorra recipes, stir fry is fast, plus it can be a tasty way to turn an assortment of on-hand vegetables into a meal. I made this stir fry last week, just based on the ingredients we happened to have on hand, and it turned out to be one of the tastiest I have made. As an extra bonus, it is not spicy at all so it will be great for guests if you have one non-spicy person in the crowd.
There are a couple key stir fry principles in this recipe that will improve all of your future stir fries. Principle #1: Rinsed rice is fluffy rice. Rinsing your rice removes excess starch, leaving you with fluffy individual grains of rice instead of a clumpy gluey mass. Many rice boxes will say to not rinse because rinsing also removes any sprayed-on vitamins, but personally I prefer my vitamins in actual food form, not sprayed-on. Principle #2: Thin, thin, thinly sliced meat = more flavor. Cutting the meat as thinly as possible (1/8″ thick or less) creates more surface area to coat with your tasty flavored sauce, creating a more flavorful stir fry. Yum!
Notes on ingredients: I used oyster mushrooms because we had just received some in a CSA box. They have a great texture and flavor for stir fry and really soak up the sauce nicely, but if you can’t find fresh oyster mushrooms or they are a little pricey, then regular white mushrooms (sliced) will do just fine too. Second, you can find fish sauce in the Asian section of most grocery stores these days. Look for a bottle of dark brown liquid that looks like soy sauce. If you can’t find fish sauce, you could substitute soy sauce instead, but fish sauce is really much more delicious, so I highly recommend buying a bottle, even if you have to find it online.
Time from start to dinner: 35 minutes
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 1/4 cups water
2-3 Tbsp safflower oil (or peanut oil)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
12 oz oyster mushrooms, stems trimmed (or sliced white mushrooms)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced 1/8″ thin
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Prepare the rice. Rinse rice in water 3 to 4 times to remove excess starch (behold: the key to fluffiness!). In a small uncovered pot, bring rice and water to a boil over medium heat. (While you are waiting for the water to heat, begin chopping ingredients for the stir fry.) Once boiling, lower heat to medium low and place lid on the pot, tilting lid to allow steam to escape. When holes or “craters” appear in the rice (about 5 minutes), put the lid on tight and turn heat to low. Simmer another 10 to 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork.
Once you are ready to start the stir fry, first chop all ingredients as instructed. The cooking process should only take five minutes to complete so there is no time for chopping mid-cooking. Is everything chopped yet? Okay, you can heat the pan now.
Heat a large deep frying pan or wok until its surface is smoking hot. Swirl in oil to coat pan surface. Wait a few seconds for oil to heat, then stir in the garlic, followed a few seconds later with onion and mushrooms. Stir another 15 to 20 seconds before adding the chicken. Stir fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until most of the chicken has changed color on the outside and is no longer pink.
Toss in green pepper. Sprinkle fish sauce over the mixture and stir fry for another 15 to 20 seconds. Season to taste with soy sauce, then stir fry another 1/2 to 1 minute, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish, or spoon directly over individual plates of fluffy rice.