A Chinese chicken stir-fry is a Chinese dish made by shallow-frying chicken and a mixture of other ingredients in a frying pan or wok. Most of the cooking for a stir-fry takes a few minutes, but the ingredients must be prepared prior to cooking so they are ready to be added to the pan. Many different ingredients can be used in a Chinese chicken stir-fry, including cashew nuts, bean sprouts, and garlic. Different sauces are added to the stir-fried vegetables and chicken to add flavor, and the dish is usually served alongside noodles or rice. Marinating the chicken prior to cooking can help to ensure it doesn’t over-cook and dry out.
Many different dishes can be classified as a Chinese chicken stir-fry, because the dish encompasses any mixture of ingredients cooked in the stir-fry style that include chicken. Stir-fries are dishes that shallow-fry a variety of ingredients in a wok or frying pan. The chef stirs the ingredients as they are frying to ensure even cooking, and the entire process generally takes a few minutes. Fresh ingredients are added to an oiled wok or frying pan over a high heat and stirred until cooked. Many recipes suggest pre-cooking the chicken before adding to the stir-fry.
Marinades are sauces that are added to the meat while it is still raw to allow the flavors to infuse with the meat. Chefs often marinade the chicken meat before adding it to a Chinese chicken stir-fry so that the resulting dish is more flavorsome and the meat stays tender. Acidic ingredients are commonly used in marinades because they break down the muscle fibers in the meat and make it tenderer. Some chefs suggest a process called velveting, in which the meat is pre-cooked in water before adding it to the stir-fry. The meat should be 90 percent cooked before adding it to the stir-fry, which keeps the meat soft and gives it a velvety texture.
The ingredients included in a Chinese chicken stir-fry can vary wildly, but some are used in the majority of recipes. Common ingredients include ginger, garlic, and spring onions, as well as sauces such as soy sauce. Other ingredients can add a distinctive flavor or texture to a Chinese chicken stir-fry, such as cashew nuts and broccoli. Many chefs will add a variety of vegetables to the dish in order to achieve a desired taste or texture.
Preparation is important when making a Chinese chicken stir-fry because the ingredients are all cooked very quickly. Most vegetables added to the stir-fry will be cooked within a few minutes, and this leaves chefs very little time to prepare. Chopping all of the ingredients prior to adding them to the stir fry helps chefs when cooking the dish. This is another reason that the chicken is often pre-cooked, because otherwise the meat would need to be cooked for much longer than the vegetables.