Flash cooked meals (stir-fry)

Stir-fry whether its asparagus, as in this week’s earlier blog entry, or a full blown meal is one of the tastiest creations in oriental cooking.

The choice of ingredients is incredible. However, keep in mind that the spices and seasonings must be used judiciously or your end result will be unpalatable. Oriental flavors are strong and, when not used in the appropriate proportions, will not give up that great flavor we are seeking.

We can start with the recipe from the asparagus blog entry and simply add meat. For four servings, 12 ounces of beef, chicken breast or pork tenderloin cut into bite sized pieces can be added to the recipe (see below). As you can see, I’ve changed the name to accommodate the new ingredient.

Stir-Fried Chicken, Asparagus and Mushrooms

Serves 4

12 ounces chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

1 pound asparagus

6 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 drops toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 ounces oyster sauce

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more if you like spicy hot

¾ cup chicken broth

Prepare asparagus by washing and trimming, chop into 1- to-1 ½-inch pieces. Set aside on paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Clean mushrooms and chop into bite size pieces; set aside. In a small bowl combine garlic, oyster sauce, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper flakes; set aside.

Add one tablespoon of the oil to hot wok and quickly stir-fry chicken. Give it a good sear on all sides, then transfer to a small plate to hold.

Add the other tablespoon of vegetable oil and the sesame oils to your wok, add asparagus and mushrooms, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the small bowl with the rest of the ingredients, except chicken broth, and continue stir-frying until asparagus is crisp tender, (tender crunchy).

Add chicken and broth to wok, bringing broth to a simmer. Lightly thicken with a corn starch slurry and serve topped with a few crunchy chow mien noodles. Consider a side dish of white rice (or angel hair pasta), which can be cooked before or during the stir-fry.

Try substituting beef (sirloin) or pork tenderloin for the chicken. Perhaps you might want to try a teaspoon of 5 Spice powder. Add in some other veggies, such as broccoli. A small can of bamboo shoots or sliced water chestnuts, drained of course, could add a great texture and flavor to this meal. Play around with it a little and see where you own creativity will take you.

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