Friday, November 19, 2010
CHINESE CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI
There was a time in my life when I couldn't get through the week without Chinese food. When I began cooking for myself, I began to amass a collection of cookbooks devoted to this cuisine. But no matter what recipe I followed (or what concoction I threw together), the results, though tasty, were never quite the same as what the local take-out joint offered. I learned a lot of great techniques (velveting, stir-frying, steaming) along the way, but the difference between the dishes I create and the ones that are served in a Chinese-American restaurant are parallel to the pasta and sauce I create at home and what's served in an Italian-American restaurant. With that in mind, I no longer fall for the "tastes exactly like take-out" reviews that accompany the various recipes for this dish that I've tried. I'm happy to acknowledge that my Chinese-style dishes are reasonable facsimiles.
My latest version of chicken and broccoli stir-fry comes to you courtesy of Food Network Kitchens (recipe here).
The secret to preparing stir-fry is your mise en place. Have everything measured out, chopped, and at the ready and the actual time from pan to table will be under 5 minutes.
I could tell just looking at it that the broccoli needed more time than the recipe directs and even doubling the time, it was still quite firm to the bite. Other than that, the flavor was good and the chicken moist. My personal preference is to velvet the chicken and to have a bit more sauce, but if you're a novice to stir-frying or to trying to cook your favorite Chinese take-out, give this simple recipe a try.