Chicken,  Stir-fry,  Under $1,  Vegetables,  Zi-char

Chinese Stir Fry: Celery Garlic Chicken in Shaoxing Wine

August- 5- Stir-fry Celery with Garlic Chicken

Celery isn’t exactly my choice vegetable because I don’t like the feeling of chewing on them as it prolongs the taste of celery in your mouth, which to me, isn’t very pleasant. The irony is, I love celery juice, the more potent the better. I’m a bit weird like that, but it really does make sense: my problem is with chewing celery, not tasting it. I’m hard to understand, most times. Go figure.

Although I don’t like eating it, I really do love cooking celery in a quick stir-fry with a sprinkle of sugar. I once read somewhere that adding sugar to a celery stir-fry enhances the dish, but I don’t remember why it does. All I know is when I cook celery with a bit of sugar, Ah-mm and 88 never fail sing praises of the dish, but when I leave out the sugar, their reaction is almost always muted, like they’re not very excited at all. I associate that with the sugar, or lack of it. And after my mini-experiment with and without sugar, I have always added sugar when cooking celery for cleaned-out plates every time.

Makes 3 servings

What I used:

3 strips chicken fillet, cut into small pieces and marinated with: 1.5 tablespoon shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, half teaspoon sugar and a dash of white pepper
4 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
Half a carrot, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cloves shallots, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Half teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons chicken stock or water
Parsley and red chillies, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat up oil in wok til very hot, add shallots and garlic and fry for a minute. Add celery and carrots, then the half teaspoon of sugar. Mix well to combine.
2. Add in the chicken together with the marinate, stir fry for a few minutes then add the chicken stock.
3. Cook til heated through and stock is reduced. Dish up and garnish with parsley and sliced red chillies if using. Serve hot with rice.

How much I spent:

$1.50 for chicken fillet
$0.60 for celery stalks
$0.20 for half carrot
Everything else from my pantry!

Total cost per serving: $0.77


I marinated the chicken in a bit more shaoxing wine this time because it truly goes well with the celery, chicken and sugar. When preparing the celery, try to remove any visible fibres so you have an easier time when eating. Most of you know that I don’t particularly like frying vegetables (they almost always end up in soups or stews), but stir-frying has got to be one of my favourite things to do with celery. I also love cooking them in stews, or in chicken pot pies. Add this to your collection of vegetable recipes- it is a great accompaniment to any home-cooked meal. :)