The trick with making any Chinese food and it’s guaranteed success is to prepare everything before hand. You need to get all your ingredients together, chopped, diced, toasted, sauces prepared in little bowls, absolutely everything that belongs in a recipe must be at hand when you fire your wok up to inferno temperatures!
This is a really easy and quick recipe. The tender succulent chicken meat together with the crunchy broccoli, with it’s bright green colour….the gentle heat of fresh chilies mixed with the nutty taste of toasted sesame seeds…all delightfully dancing on your taste buds!
The idea is to cook everything very quickly, on a high heat, so that all the juices, natural vitamins and minerals are sealed for maximum flavour and goodness.
Not only are flavours and nutrients important in Chinese cooking, but texture also carries a high importance. In this dish, you have the soft velvety texture (yes, velvety, not dry and stringy) of the chicken breast meat, the medium crunch of the broccoli, the crunchy slightly chewy cashew nuts, and the small crispy sesame seeds, all married together with that distinctive light Chinese flavour sauce that comes with a stir fry.
In this recipe I’ve added some tiger prawns just for a bit of contrast, but if your budget doesn’t allow, you can leave it out all together, or swap for some white fish, like cod.
1 chicken breast fillet
6 tiger prawns
As much broccoli as you wish
Handful of french beans
Handful of mushrooms
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/2 green chili
1/2 red chili
Handful of cashew nuts
1 spring onions / scallions
handful of fresh coriander / cilantro
1 egg white & 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cornflour / cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (if not toasted, just dry fry them in a small pan until golden)
1. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl with enough water to cover half way up. Microwave for 3-4 minutes.
2. Drain the broccoli water and add ice cold water. Leave the broccoli in the water until it is cold. By plunging the broccoli in ice cold water, it will keep the bright green colour and also crunchiness as the water will stop the broccoli from continuing to cook.
3. Wash and prepare the rest of the vegetables. They should all be cut to bite sized even pieces.
4. Chop the ginger, garlic, and chilies (see photo below)
5. Put all your prepared vegetables on a separate plate as shown below.
6. Separate an egg, keeping the egg white, and lightly beat it in a bowl with 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
7. Slice the chicken breast into bite sized pieces and place in the bowl with the egg white. (See photo below). The egg white acts as a coat to the chicken, so when it makes contact with the heat from the wok, it is sealed very quickly, keeping all the juices inside and giving you a soft velvety texture to the chicken.
8. Remove the shells from the prawns and devein and set aside.
9. Make the sauce. – Add all the sauce ingredients into a bowl, and stir so that the cornflour has dissolved.
11. Heat the wok until it is smoking. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the wok.
12. As soon as the wok is hot, add the chicken and stir until in firms up and turns white in colour. Remove from the wok. It will go back in to the wok after the vegetables are done.
13. Keeping the same oil from the chicken, add the vegetables, cashews etc to the wok and fry, stirring and tossing with your spatula until they are soft enough for your liking. (some people don’t like to eat really crunchy vegetables, so cook a bit longer if necessary!)
14. Add the chicken back to the wok, keeping the heat on high, stirring and tossing all the time.
15. Give the sauce a stir in the bowl, to loosen the cornflour as it may have settled to the bottom, then pour the sauce all around the outer edge of the wok, stirring all the time.
16. Add the prawns and turn off the heat. Stir a few more times until the prawns turn pink as in the photo below.
17. Serve steaming hot with a nice bowl of Thai Fragrant rice. Delicious!