If you are a fan of Chinese food, you must have tried the famous Chinese stir-fry dishes. These dishes are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare. One thing that can make or break a good stir fry is the seasonings that you use. Chicken is one of the most popular ingredients for stir fry, but choosing the right seasonings is key. In this article, we will discuss how to season chicken for stir fry perfectly.
The Best Seasoning for Chicken for Stir Fry
If you want to make a good stir fry dish, you must use the right seasonings to compliment the flavor of the chicken. Here are some of the best seasonings that you can use for chicken stir fry:
- Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Oyster Sauce
- Brown Sugar
Soy sauce is one of the most common seasonings used in Chinese cooking. It is a must-have ingredient in your stir-fry recipe. Soy sauce adds saltiness, umami, and depth to your stir fry. However, remember that soy sauce is high in sodium, so use it sparingly.
Ginger adds a warm and spicy flavor to your stir fry. It also has health benefits such as aiding digestion and reducing inflammation. Fresh ginger root is the best, but you can also use ground ginger if that is all you have. Peel and mince the ginger before adding it to your chicken.
Garlic is another essential seasoning in Chinese cooking. It adds a pungent and savory flavor to your stir fry. Garlic also has health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. Use fresh garlic, minced or chopped, to your stir fry.
Sesame oil is a flavorful oil that enhances the taste of your stir-fry. It has a nutty and rich flavor that complements the seasonings used in the stir fry. Use toasted sesame oil for a more pronounced flavor.
Oyster sauce is a savory and thick sauce that adds richness to your stir fry. It has a mild, sweet, and salty flavor that complements the chicken. Oyster sauce also contains umami flavor, which enhances the overall taste of the dish.
Cornstarch is not a seasoning, but it is an essential ingredient in your stir fry recipe. Cornstarch is used to coat the chicken before cooking. It helps to thicken the sauce and make it glossy. Don’t skip this ingredient, as it will add texture to your stir fry.
Brown sugar adds sweetness to your stir fry, balancing out the saltiness of the soy sauce. Use a small amount of brown sugar to avoid making the stir fry too sweet. If you don’t have brown sugar, you can substitute with honey or maple syrup.
How to Season Chicken for Stir Fry
Now that you know the best seasonings to use for chicken stir fry let’s look at the steps involved in seasoning your chicken:
Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
Marinating the chicken is optional, but it can make a significant difference in the overall taste of the dish. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavor it absorbs from the seasonings. Use a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch to marinate the chicken. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Step 2: Coat the Chicken with Cornstarch
After marinating the chicken, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry. Coat the chicken with cornstarch and shake off excess cornstarch. This process will help thicken the sauce and give the chicken a crispy texture when stir-frying.
Step 3: Stir Fry the Chicken
Heat a wok or a skillet over high heat. Add oil and swirl it around to coat the surface. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes until it is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok and set it aside.
Step 4: Stir Fry Vegetables
Add your vegetables of choice to the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until they are tender-crisp. Remove the vegetables from the wok and set them aside.
Step 5: Make the Sauce
Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the wok and bring it to a simmer. The sauce will thicken and become glossy.
Step 6: Return Chicken and Vegetables to the Wok
Add the chicken and vegetables back to the wok, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until everything is coated with the sauce.
Other Tips for Perfectly Seasoned Chicken Stir Fry
There are a few additional tips that you can follow to make your chicken stir fry perfect:
- Use a high smoke point oil like peanut or canola oil for stir-frying.
- Always cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces for even cooking.
- Preheat your wok or skillet before adding the oil to ensure that it is hot enough for stir-frying.
- Stir-fry your chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the wok and steaming the chicken.
- Add the sauce to the wok when the chicken and vegetables are almost cooked to avoid a soggy stir fry.
- Experiment with different vegetables, protein, and seasonings to create a unique and flavorful stir-fry dish.
FAQS About Seasoning Chicken for Stir Fry
- What can I use instead of soy sauce?
- Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast?
- Can I substitute cornstarch with flour?
- Can I make stir fry without a wok?
You can use tamari sauce or liquid aminos as a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.
Yes, you can use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. Chicken thighs are more flavorful and tender than chicken breasts.
No, flour won’t give you the same texture as cornstarch. You can use potato starch or arrowroot starch as a substitute for cornstarch.
Yes, you can use a skillet or a frying pan instead of a wok. Just make sure that it is wide to ensure that the ingredients cook evenly.
Stir fry dishes are a versatile and easy way to incorporate healthy meals into your diet. The key to a good stir fry is perfectly seasoned chicken. Remember to use the right seasonings, coat the chicken with cornstarch, and stir-fry in batches until everything is cooked through. By following these tips and tricks, you can make a flavorful and delicious chicken stir fry that your family will love.
Harron, M. (2019). Perfect Chicken Stir Fry. Retrieved from https://www.delish.com/uk/cooking/recipes/a30984080/perfect-chicken-stir-fry-recipe/
McDermott, J. (2020). Chicken Stir Fry. Retrieved from https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/chicken-stir-fry-3362230