Mary Anne here. By now you know I love a good deal and recently, whole chicken breasts were on extra-super sale at my local market. Thanks to the generous grocery gods, I was able to create this dish at an amazing 88 cents per serving! A word to the wise and frugal – post this recipe on your fridge where you used to have the local take-out menu…
For this stir-fry, I utilized a technique called “velveting,” which entails coating the chicken strips in a mixture of corn starch, sherry, and beaten egg white. A quick sauté in smokin’ hot oil produces succulent pieces of chicken resembling soft, white velvet…hence the name. Combined with the crunch of water chestnuts and the bite of leek, this gingered dish is a perfect antidote to greasy delivery and it works wonders for quelling a grumbly, rumbly, upset stomach. Serve over warm brown rice or stir-fried rice noodles, and pass the Sake, please.
Tummy Taming Stir-Fried Ginger Chicken with Leeks
PS: if your tummy is ache-free, add a a teaspoon or two of Hoisin sauce to step 5 of the directions (below). It adds a kicky little punch to the mix.
Note: Place the whole chicken breasts in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. This will firm-up the meat, allowing for the thinnest of chicken slices; approximately 1/8″ thick.
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise and then into very thin strips as described in the note above. Transfer the slices to a medium bowl. – $3.86
3 Teaspoons corn starch – stock
1 Tablespoon sherry – stock
1 large egg white, beaten – stock
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons Peanut or Canola oil, divided – stock
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced (about a 2″ “knuckle” – $0.20
2 large leeks, tough outer green leaves removed. Cut the leeks lengthwise and run under cold running water, fanning the leaves apart to remove all of the grit and sand. Cut crosswise on the diagonal into 1/8″ thick slices – $1.98
1 8oz. can water chestnuts, diced – $0.99
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce – stock
brown rice or stir-fry rice noodles – stock
2 teaspoons of Hoisin sauce (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $7.03
Total Per Serving: $0.88
1. If using brown rice, prepare the rice as directed. Brown rice usually takes anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, so it should be cooked by the time the rest of the meal is prepped and stir-fried. The stir-fry rice noodles take about 10 minutes to prepare according to package directions.
2. In a small bowl or custard cup, whisk together the corn starch, sherry, and egg white. Pour the mixture over the sliced chicken, tossing well to combine. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes.
3. Over medium-high flame, heat 3 Tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large sauté pan. The oil is hot when it shimmers across the top. (Test by dropping a small scrap of diced veggie and watch it sizzle.) When hot, add the chicken and sauté, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until the chicken is opaque. Transfer the meat to a platter.
4. Add the remaining Tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over high flame. Add the ginger and leeks, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Toss in the water chestnuts and continue cooking until the veggies are crisp-tender, about 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Season with soy sauce and cook until heated through, about 1½ minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve over rice (or stir-fry noodles if you have ‘em). Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.