Think you can’t make Chinese food just as good as takeout at home??? Think again! I find that one of the easiest ethnic dishes to re-create at home is Chinese – and the options are endless when it comes to different flavor profiles and dishes. Forgoing the takeout for a homemade option is not only more cost effective, but is infinitely healthier, as I’m sure you can imagine. YOU control what you’re putting into your food, so you can reduce the oil content, skip the frying and reduce the sodium however you please. Win-win.
When I was a kid, I’d always go for the whole experience when ordering Chinese – and it wasn’t remotely healthy. Fried general tso’s chicken? Yup. Fried rice? Wouldn’t even think about ordering Chinese without it. Crab rangoon? Umm, how can you eat fried rice without crab rangoon? These days when ordering out, I try to stick to options that aren’t fried, and only let myself indulge in the unhealthy sides every once in a while. Although, nine times out of ten, I opt to forgo the takeout altogether and instead make my favorite dishes at home.
This Hoisin Chicken with Mushrooms and Broccoli is hands down one of my favorite Chinese dishes I’ve made to date. Not only because it’s jam-packed with tons of flavor from fresh garlic, hoisin and sesame, but also because it’s a cinch to put together, making it perfect for those hectic weeknights when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch the latest episode of Homeland.
If you’re not familiar with hoisin, it’s a classic Chinese ingredient made up of soy sauce, chiles, garlic, sugar and a bunch of other Asian ingredients. You can find it at pretty much any grocery store nation-wide, but I’m sure you’ve also seen it at various Chinese restaurants served with anything from peking duck to moo shu pork to egg rolls and beyond. The savory attributes and complexity of flavors make it the perfect base for a classic stir-fry. It’s sweet, savory and salty all at the same time, making it seriously addictive and an ingredient I always have at my disposal.
Before I even begin cooking, I like to cut the chicken up into bite-sized pieces, toss it with a little bit of sesame oil, soy sauce and sirracha while I make the sauce and sauté the veggies. Once the chicken is marinated, I whisk the hoisin, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sirracha together in a small bowl and set aside.
As most stir-fries go, each component is cooked separately, ensuring everything cooks evenly. First, a large non-stick frying pan or wok is heated to a extremely high heat, a little bit of oil is added in (traditionally peanut oil is used, but I like to use a mild olive oil to keep it a little bit healthier) along with the broccoli and mushrooms. I keep the vegetables moving with a spatula, and once they cook for two to three minutes, I add the garlic, cook it for another 30 seconds or so until it’s soft, and then transfer everything to a large platter while I cook the chicken.
Again, just a touch of olive oil is added to the hot pan, and the chicken is tossed in, cooking until it’s golden brown on all sides. The veggies and sauce are then added back into the pan and everything is simmered until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened up slightly.
I like to serve the finished product simply with a little bit of steamed white or brown rice, but you could also toss in some cooked lo-mein just as easily.
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