It’s been a while since I’ve shared a great dinner recipe, and, well, it’s because I’ve made some FLOPS over the past few weeks. (Or, as my family so kindly called them, “slops.”) Let’s just say that I was in experimental mode, and some of my experiments didn’t turn out nearly as well as I envisioned them in my head.
One thing I want people to be able to count on with this blog is that when I post a recipe, it’s going to be good!! No matter how much effort I put into testing a recipe, buying ingredients, taking photos, etc., I won’t post anything here that doesn’t get a “double thumbs up” from my family, and that I wouldn’t happily serve to guests. **On that note, if you ever make a recipe of mine that doesn’t turn out right, I want to know!! Please word it nicely, though. 🙂
Now, onto the good stuff — this Spicy & Sweet Asian Chicken! This recipe is so good, it made up for my flops ten times over. The secret to its success is the texture of the chicken and the AMAZING sauce. I almost licked the bowl, and my daughter requested to eat the leftovers the next day immediately after getting home from school. For this chicken to beat out Girl Scout cookies for a snack, you know it has to be good!
Have you ever noticed how the chicken you get in Chinese restaurants has a unique texture? It’s usually really thin and tender, and doesn’t have that chewy factor that home-cooked chicken sometimes has. Well, it’s due to a technique called velveting. It might sound fancy and exotic, but it is truly the easiest thing ever, especially if you use the velveting technique I learned from Nagi, food blogger extraordinaire over at RecipeTin Eats.
I’ve read a few different techniques for velveting chicken over the years, but when I saw how simple Nagi’s technique was, I was sold. All you have to do is combine your sliced chicken with some baking soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse it off. THAT’S IT!! This easy step will give your chicken that “Chinese take-out” texture, and make you feel like an Asian cooking rockstar.
Now, about the sauce. It is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy with just the right amount of heat, courtesy of sriracha, and it far surpasses most sauces I’ve had in even the best Chinese restaurants. It’s completely addicting. That said, I love spice, so what’s perfect to me might be a little too much for you. If you don’t like heat, get out of the kitchen! (Just kidding. You can simply omit the sriracha, or reduce the amount to one tablespoon instead of two.)
I can’t take credit for inventing the sauce. It came from an old recipe I tore out of “All You” Magazine a few years ago. But I did work on simplifying their original recipe to cut down on the number of steps needed without sacrificing any of the deliciousness.
You can use any vegetable you like in this stir fry, but I chose sugar snap peas because they cook up so quickly without any blanching or pre-cooking required. If you’re not a fan of snap peas, you could always substitute broccoli or another vegetable, but you may need to pre-cook it a little bit in boiling water or the microwave to make sure it reaches its desired tenderness in the saute pan without starting to burn.
One thing I’ve never liked about making stir-fry is having to cook different components at different times to make sure everything is cooked perfectly and comes together at the same time. For this recipe, everything except the chicken and sauce gets thrown into the pan at once, so it’s completely fool-proof. After you’ve velveted your chicken, chopped your veggies, and combined your sauce ingredients, you’ll only be spending 10 minutes of actual cooking time at the stove.
Please give this a try, and come back and tell me what you think!