Happy (belated) Chinese New Year!

Yesterday was the Chinese New Year! Usually we go all out and prepare a feast (or I make awkward cooking vlogs like last year πŸ˜‰ ), but this year I wanted to keep it simple. Instead of a feast, I just picked one thing. Chicken Stir Fry. One of my absolute favorites that we make at home all the time. I have to tell you guys – this isn’t really a Chinese recipe. It’s a very Americanized version of Chinese food. However, when we were living in China my mom made this all the time and it was one of my favorites. So I always think of it as “comfort food from China.”

chicken stir fry3

Look at that giant bowl of veggies all prepped and ready to go! You may be tempted to buy a bag of frozen mixed veggies for your stir fry and I won’t judge you if you do… but you will be missing out. When you use fresh veggies, they come out crisp and perfect every time! πŸ™‚

chicken stir fry2.jpg

All cooked and ready to be served over your favorite starch (or just eaten as is). We eat this so frequently that we’re always changing up the starch. White rice, brown rice, pasta, and evenΒ shirataki noodles. My absolute favorite is to eat it over Ramen noodles (I just throw away the seasoning packet). I’m not sure what sort of wizardry they do to Ramen noodles, but they soak up sauces SO well which makes them a perfect base for chicken stir fry!

chicken stir fry.jpg

Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients:

Starch of your choice (2 cups rice, 8 oz noodles, etc)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 large sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 large carrot, peeled
1 broccoli crown
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
Smoked paprika
Seasoned salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

1.Β Begin rice or pasta now. Cook per package directions and set aside when finished.

2. Julienne your onion, bell peppers, and carrot. You can leave them in long strips or slice them all in half to make them bite-size. We do both depending on our chopping mood that day. πŸ™‚ Place veggies in bowl and set aside. Slice stalks off broccoli and discard stalk pieces. Add broccoli pieces to veggie bowl.

3. Begin heating 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a wok or large pan. Add garlic after a minute and watch it as it begins to sizzle. When it turns golden, add your veggies, give them a good stir and cover with a lid.

4. While your veggies cook, begin slicing the chicken into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Check on your veggies periodically to give them a stir.

5. After 5-6Β minutes of veggie cook time begin checking the done-ness of your veggies by pulling out a couple of random pieces to taste. When they seem close, remove the lid and allow the veggies to cook for another 1-2 minutes to crisp up. {The lid keeps the moisture in allowing the veggies to cook without needing copious amounts of oil, removing the lid once the veggies are nearly done cooking allows the moisture to evaporate and the veggies to crisp up!}

6. When veggies are done, pour them out of the wok into a serving bowl. Immediately add remaining olive oil to the pan and then the chicken. Allow to cook for 2 minutes on one side and then use a spatula to flip as many of the pieces as you can to cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Using your spatula, break up a couple of pieces of chicken to check the inside. Top your veggies with the cooked chicken.

7. Serve immediately over the starch of your choice and with the sauce of your choice. See below for our favorite sauce choices!

sauces for stir fry.JPG

And because you can’t have stir fry without sauces (well, you can, but you shouldn’t), here are a few of our favorites to mix and match as the mood strikes us. We don’t put any sauces in as the food is cooking because we like to try different flavor combinations in our own bowl. Christopher nearly always adds more smoked paprika and then soy sauce and black vinegar. I nearly always go for Worcestershire sauce because that’s the way I ate it in China (random, right?). But no matter what direction we go, it’s always delicious!

rach & abby at the pagoda

I’ll leave you with this shot of me and my sister, Abby, outside a pagoda in 2001. For anyone who is newer to the blog and is wondering about the whole China connection, you can read more about it here. πŸ™‚ Happy belated Chinese New Year, my friends!

Have you ever celebrated the Lunar/Chinese New Year?

What are your favorite veggies for stir fry?
Love Rach

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21 responses to “Happy (belated) Chinese New Year!

  1. Yum! This sounds delicious…love all the colors of the veggies.

  2. this looks so good! i never thought to use ramen noodles in stir fry but it sounds fabulous. i love carrots and peppers in a stir fry! they are always my go to.

  3. We’re actually having this for dinner tomorrow night, but I was planning on having it over rice… now I’m going to pick up some ramen! This looks SO good!

  4. This looks seriously delicious – I don’t know why we never make Chinese food at home – we really need to start!

    • Some Chinese dishes are kind of complex, but stir fry is SO easy! Which is why I make it so much, haha! I know the recipe looks long up there, but that’s just because I put in a million little details that I’ve learned over the years to make it easier. Essentially it’s chop & cook veggies. Chop, season, & cook chicken. Serve over carbs. Easy peasy. πŸ˜‰

  5. Yum!!! My brother in law’s father was born and raised in China so they celebrate the Chinese New Year every year. This year my sister went with them to Chicago to celebrate in China town. She said it was amazing and the food was incredible. So fun!

  6. This looks delicious! Great tip about using fresh veggies instead of frozen. I bet it makes a huge difference. I just read your post about your time in China and it is seriously fascinating!

    • It definitely does make such a big difference! I know a lot of people say they don’t like homemade stir fry because it’s so limp and watery. That’s because they’ve only had it made from pre-cut frozen veggies. I get the appeal of not wanting to cut all the veggies up, but honestly I kind of enjoy it. It’s therapeutic in a way. And the more you do it, the faster you get at it. So I definitely recommend fresh veggies! πŸ™‚

      And I’m glad you enjoyed the post about China! It was such a formative time in my life. πŸ™‚

  7. That’s so cool you celebrate Chinese New Year. My family lives far away so I was sad I missed out on the new year feasting.

    Do you speak mandarin?

    • I don’t much anymore. It’s been almost 12 years since I moved back to the States and while I used my Mandarin a lot at first, I used it less and less as time passed. One of my friends from China came to visit last year and I was surprised by how much I remembered when we chatted, but it’s still nothing like it once was. I keep thinking that I’ll encourage my future kids to learn it so I’ll have a reason to start studying it again. πŸ˜‰

  8. We totally forgot to eat Chinese food on Monday.
    My favourite veggie for a stirfry is mushrooms. Actually I put mushrooms in everything anyway.

    • That sounds like my husband! He loves mushrooms, but weirdly they are one of the few foods that I don’t really care for. I’ll eat them sauteed on top of a steak or on a pizza, but that’s about it. I hadn’t thought about putting them in the stirfry before. Maybe I’ll try it, I’m sure my husband would appreciate it! πŸ˜‰

  9. I have a long-standing dislike of bell peppers, which is why I avoid them in any stir fry combos. πŸ˜› Here, stir-fried turmeric cabbage or stir-fried green beans are really popular and I’ll melt for either of those dishes. I love the stir-fried sichuan peppercorn spicy/sour cabbage dish we frequently ate in ShenZhen but I can’t replicate it because I can’t get sichuan peppercorns here, I’ve tried it with normal peppercorns and it’s good but not quite what it should be.
    We went to some big family dinners here for Chinese New Year and set off plenty of fireworks. Funny thing is, our hosts requested that my family bring potato salad and 7-layer salad (in our minds, food so American that we barely eat it ourselves) to the gathering because they think American food is really festive and exciting.

    • Did you have a bad experience with bell peppers as a kid? Or do just not like them? I know they can be a very unique texture when they’re cooked so that’s understandable.

      Ooh you have a much braver palate than I do. I couldn’t handle the heat of anything I ate while in Shen Zhen, haha! It’s a whole other level of spice.

      I find it really funny that they wanted you to bring American foods! I remember one time we went to a party while living in China and they prepared an American feast for us. This was in Wuhan which was not very westernized at the time. All I remember was pasting a polite smile on my face while I ate a peanut butter, jelly, and Spam sandwich. Yes, a PB&J with Spam. Ah, good memories. πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: 18 Favorite Go-To Healthy Recipes |

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