Once a week, usually on a Thursday before I do my weekly grocery haul the next day, I go through my fridge and stirfry everything in sight. I have a habit of buying carrots, broccoli, and peppers every single week, convincing myself that I’ll make a crudite platter to snack on or that I’ll bring fresh veggies for lunch..but inevitably, at the end of every week they are still there in the crisper, begging to be eaten. I almost always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, since I like to buy them in bulk from Costco or Safeway and then freeze them in bags of 3. All you need to remember is to put some chicken breasts to defrost in the fridge the night before and you can whip up this stirfry in under 30 minutes.
You can basically use any vegetable you want in this stirfry (except for cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms or tomatoes – those have too high of a water content). I consistently use onions, peppers and carrots, and for the green vegetable I’ve used broccoli before and I used asparagus in the pictures you see in this post. You could substitute snow peas as well for the green vegetable.
Served with some hot jasmine rice, it makes for a filling and satisfying meal. My husband and I devour this stirfry and there are never any leftovers so I’m going to say that this recipe makes enough for 2 hungry people, maybe 3 people.
Give this recipe a try the next time you are looking for a quick weeknight meal!
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (on the diagonal if you're feeling fancy)
small broccoli crown, chopped into small florets (or substitute any hearty green vegetable - in my pics, I used asparagus)
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 sweet pepper (any colour), sliced into strips
a handful of fresh spinach leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or mirin)
1 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
In a wok or a deep frying pan over high heat, add a small amount of oil and brown the chicken in batches, sprinkling with a little soy sauce as they brown. Remove each batch of brown chicken from the wok and set aside.
Add a bit more oil to the wok and saute the ginger, carrots, broccoli (or asparagus), and onion for 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips, spinach leaves and chicken (along with any chicken juices).
In a measuring cup, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour over the vegetables.
Add the oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
I’ve decided to break my pasta recipe streak and post a Vietnamese recipe instead. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything Vietnamese. After I made this for the first time and showed the process on my Instagram stories a couple days ago, I received a few requests for the recipe so here it is!
Braising is a common Vietnamese method for preparing meats, and it just means that the meat is seared or browned on dry high heat, and then slowly cooked in a liquid over lower heat. My mom made a version of this often when we were kids but she used chicken drumsticks. Normally Vietnamese-braised chicken is made with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks, but I don’t like chicken skin all that much so I decided to use chicken breasts instead. Using bone-in, skin-on chicken would give you more flavour and moist chicken, so feel free to use whatever you want.
The chicken doesn’t need to marinate for long – I had it sit in the fridge in the marinade for about 15-20 minutes while I cleaned the kitchen and made my lunch for the next day. You’ll be using that marinade as the liquid to braise the chicken in later so all that flavour will have plenty of time to soak in during the cooking process as well.
This recipe calls for Coco Rico which is a coconut soda that you can find at any Asian food store. I always have a few cans in my pantry as I also use it in my Braised Pork and Eggs recipe. If you don’t have Coco Rico on hand, you can use coconut water as a substitute.
Serve the chicken with some jasmine rice and a simple vegetable. I served mine with rice and sliced up some fresh cucumbers as my vegetable. I drizzled the glaze on the rice, cucumbers, and chicken, and the meal was a perfect combination of hot fluffy rice, cold crisp cucumbers, savoury chicken, and a slightly sweet glaze.
So for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve started to record what I’m cooking for supper every night on my Instagram stories. Are you guys interested in those stories? I started doing them because one of my favourite bloggers ( A Bowl Full of Lemons ) started showing what she was making for dinner every night and I always look forward to watching her stories every day.
There are just a couple issues with my Instagram stories: 1) I am still not comfortable with talking on my stories. It just seems so weird! I mean, I follow a whole bunch of bloggers who literally narrate their entire day on Instagram stories, and although I like watching them, I think it’s kind of narcissistic and weird. Can you imagine walking around the city or a store and seeing someone talking to their phone to people they can’t see and don’t know? So yeah, I’m still not that comfortable with narrating my cooking yet, but maybe one day. 2) Secondly, after documenting the cooking and the food on Instagram stories, I sometimes forget to take an actual nice picture (not on my phone) to feature on the blog! Which is what happened here for this Asian pork tenderloin – I captured a picture of the dish for Instagram stories, but then I added some text to it and so I can’t really use it as a photo on this blog! I mean, by the time I’m finished cooking and snapping pictures of the meal, my husband and I are starving and we just want to eat all the deliciousness. I never understand how some foodbloggers can stage and flatlay their cooking process and the finished product so beautifully….that must add so much time to the cooking process. And do they even eat the food that is presented and staged? It must be cold after everything is perfectly captured on camera. Anyways, I’ll post this recipe here today and then add pictures later. I make this pork tenderloin at least once a week, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a blog photo next time.
On my Instagram stories last night, you would have seen that I served this pork tenderloin with some steamed jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers. Sliced cucumbers dipped in soy sauce was something that my mom served as a side a lot when we were younger and I just love it! I always have cucumbers on hand, and it makes such an easy side dish when I don’t have time or energy to stirfry or prepare another type of vegetable. The combination of cold crisp cucumbers dipped in the salty soy sauce is my favourite!
Oh, and just a heads up – the high sugar content of the hoisin sauce in this recipe, combined with the high temperature of cooking will make a mess of your baking dish! But it’s worth the extra soaking time, I promise!