Turn pantry and kitchen basics into an easy weeknight recipe
When I think of stir-fry cooking, I almost always think of chicken as my protein of choice. It’s versatile and quick to cook in a hot wok, and works great with many different marinades and seasonings. Lots of different vegetables can work well with it, too — including all of your basics you’re likely to have on hand in your fridge or garden during the growing season like peppers, carrots, asparagus and peas.
To make a stir-fry extra special, however, you might want to try serving it with fried vermicelli rice noodles instead of your typical white or fried rice. The rice noodles are easy to prepare, and make the meal a lot more like you might find in a Chinese restaurant…so why bother ordering take out? Try this recipe instead tonight!
Stir-Fried Chicken with Crispy Rice Vermicelli
Serves: 3 to 4 (depending on how hungry you are!)
Ingredient notes: If you don’t have the specific vegetables mentioned below, don’t worry. You can substitute others such as sweet peppers, zucchini, tender green beans, leeks, etc. The fresh ginger and garlic are definitely necessary, but beyond that just try to have 5 different vegetables of varied colors and textures to make the dish interesting.
Additionally, try to keep the sizes of the “diced-and-sliced” vegetables such that they will cook to tender-crisp in the same amount of time. That is, cut harder vegetables such as the carrots more finely, and leave softer vegetables such as the green onions in larger pieces.
- 1.25 – 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into small (about 1/2 – 3/4 inch) cubes
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 100 g (about 3.5 oz) rice vermicelli noodles
- Oil for frying (peanut, corn or vegetable)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut up into large dice
- 6 green onions, trimmed and sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into sticks
- 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
- 1 cup tender thin asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
Combine the cornstarch and half of the 1/3 cup of soy sauce until well blended. Pour the marinade over the diced chicken breast, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The chicken does not need vary long to marinate, but giving it at least 15-30 minutes before cooking will help infuse it with flavor.)
Break the dried noodles up into small pieces with your hands. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pot or pan on the stove until very hot. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a few noodles into the pot; it is ready when the noodles turn white and rise quickly to the top of the oil.
Fry the noodles a handful at a time; they will only take a few seconds per batch! Remove with a slotted spoon as soon as crisped and floating on top, then drain on paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or high-sided frying pan; I like using my deep cast-iron skillet as it heats up very high uniformly and is later easy to clean. Drop in the chicken and its marinade and stir fry until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the hot wok or pan. Toss in the garlic and ginger and stir fry briefly, no more than 30 seconds. Then, add in the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry until just crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes at most.
Add in the rest of the soy sauce, return the chicken to the pot, and mix together with the vegetables until well-combined and heated through. Prepare serving bowls or plates by layering in the fried vermicelli and then topping with the chicken, vegetables and sauce.
Serve immediately, with some hot chili sauce on the side for those who might want to add a little spice. This stir-fry is great with just a side salad of crispy romaine lettuce and shredded cabbage, dressed with a Asian ginger vinaigrette.