Chicken,  Stir-fry,  Under $2,  Vegetables

Chinese Stir-fry: Chicken and Bell Peppers with Cashew Nuts

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I get asked many times if I use a wok when cooking Chinese dishes. Truth be told, I don’t! And there are a few reasons for that:

1. “The sink is too small.”
What? That is a fact! Ah-mm’s huge-ass wok is too small to fit in the kitchen sink. I already hate washing up. Trying to manoeuvre the wok around the sink just to get it cleaned frustrates me even more.

2. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
This is again true. The best place to leave your wok is out in the open. Because the stove space is so small, the wok is always kept in the cabinet, underneath all the other smaller pots and pans. And what do most normal people do when they need a frying pan? Go for the easiest to reach ones!

3. “This thing weighs a ton!”
Ok, it doesn’t, but it is still much heavier and cumbersome than a frying pan.

That said, my Mom swears by her wok. Lazy as I am, I can’t deny the fact that when it comes to stir-frying, everything tastes better when it is tossed over high heat in a wok. A frying pan gets your food cooked. A wok gets your food amazing. I know because everything my Mom cooks is amazing, and she cooks everything in her wok.

Today’s recipe was prepared in a frying pan (see reasons 1-3 above). Still delicious but not the best, and it’s ok, we won’t know what we’re missing.

I used chicken inner fillet for this dish. Chicken inner fillet (鸡柳) is the underside of the chicken breast and is moist and tender. It is about 10cm long and has almost zero fat. I love it! My favourite brand is LEBON from Giant because each fillet is frozen individually before being packed. Other brands I’ve bought are frozen together in a large chunk and you just can’t pick a few pieces to defrost. With LEBON, I simply open up the packet, take whatever number of fillets I need and defrost them for an easy lunch or dinner. Here’s what inner fillets look like:

chicken_inner_fillet1

Whether you choose to cook this in a wok or pan, you’re sure to enjoy this comforting dish. Serve with rice. You won’t stop at one bowl!

Chicken and Bell Peppers with Cashew Nuts
Serves: 2-3 as part of a Chinese meal
Total cost: $4.95
Total cost per serving: $1.65

What I used:

8 strips chicken inner fillet, chopped into 3 pieces per fillet
Half a green pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Half a red pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 packet sweet roasted cashew nuts
1 teaspoon garlic
2 slices ginger
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese wine (hua diao jiu)
A dash of white pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

For marinating chicken:
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese wine (hua diao jiu)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar

Steps:
1. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes.
2. Heat up the olive oil in your frying pan, then add in the ginger, garlic and bell peppers. Fry for a minute til fragrant.
3. Drain the chicken and discard marinate. Add to frying pan together with the oyster sauce and Chinese wine.
4. Give the bell peppers and chicken a good toss and cook til chicken is no longer pink. Add the dash of white pepper and the packet of cashew nuts.
5. Give it a quick stir then serve hot with rice.

How much I spent:
$2.40 for chicken (I get about 20 fillets for $5.90)
$0.45 for half green pepper
$0.70 for half red pepper
$1.40 for cashew nuts
Everything else from my pantry

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