From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a great meal to serve at the end of a busy day. It comes together almost effortlessly and it is the kind of quick meal that the Silver Fox and I enjoy when we are home alone. When there are just two of us at the table, I reduce the quantity of ingredients used in this recipe by 2/3 and we still have a substantial meal to share. While I suspect no warnings are necessary, fussy young eaters seem to think hemlock is lurking in this stir-fry and no amount of cajoling will open those locked lips. Have you ever wondered where they learn to do that? I just finished a "one for you, one for me, and one for Felix" routine worthy of an award nomination, but it was to no avail. The lips are still locked and the eyes are beginning to glare with that unspoken "try and make me" challenge. Back on point, these are the occasions when it is great to be a grandmother. Grandmother's instinctively know that God created fried-rice and steamed dumplings for a reason. I call it strategic retreat. No child has ever starved on my watch, so dumplings, with vegetables so finely chopped they don't even know they're there, are the order of the evening. I'll add a bit of plum sauce because it makes everything taste better, don't you think? The broccoli battle, bested only by the Trojan wars, can be fought another day by some other person in another time and place. Tonight peace will reign. All things being equal, this is a nice family meal, despite the bad reviews coming from the peanut gallery. I hope you'll give it a try. Here's the recipe.
Five-Spice Chicken Stir-Fry...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
2 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1-1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups broccoli florets
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
3/4 cup onion slices
3/4 cup snow peas
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (See Cook's Note below)
1 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
3 cups hot cooked white rice
1) Heat sesame oil in wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add chicken and stir-fry for about 8 minutes,or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove chicken from wok.
2) Add broccoli, bell pepper, onion, snow peas, water chestnuts and garlic to wok and stir-fry for 5 to 8 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with five-spice powder. Cook and stir 1 minute longer.
3) Return chicken to wok. Add chicken broth and heat mixture to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and stir into broth mixture. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Serve over rice. Yield: 6 servings.
Cook's Note: Five-spice powder is a Chinese spice mix designed to capture the yin and yang of Chinese cooking. It includes all five flavors - sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. Here are the components to 5-spice powder: 2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns, roasted and ground, 8 star anise, ground, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds. Five spice powder can be found in Asian markets and is available for purchase online.
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