I love a simple stir-fry that combines one protein and one vegetable; not only is it easy to prepare, but it’s also an entire meal when served with a bowl of rice. No need to prepare a side dish! Because let’s face it — sometimes we just don't have time for that.
The great thing about this dish is that it can be made from start to finish in just 20 minutes. It uses one of the most important cooking methods my Chinese parents taught me: marinating meat in cornstarch, soy sauce, and oil for a few minutes before cooking.
According to my dad, this quick marinade gives any meat a tender, silky texture (as opposed to the dry, coarse texture you may be scratching your head over every time you make stir-fry). Basically, the marinade seals in the juices and prevents the meat from drying out. We use some version of this marinade for every single stir-fry dish that involves meat, whether it’s chicken, beef, pork, or lamb.
Another great method used in this recipe is making a cornstarch slurry to create the sauce. With just that simple step, you’ll get a smooth, silky sauce to soak up with your rice.
Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry
For marinating the chicken:
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
For the rest of the dish:
2/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound snap peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed and washed
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Black pepper, to taste
Steamed rice, for serving
Toss the chicken with the marinade ingredients and set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Combine the 2/3 cup chicken stock with 2 tablespoons cornstarch to make a slurry (stir out any lumps) and set aside.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a wok or skillet over high heat almost until smoking. Add 3 tablespoons oil, and sear the chicken just until browned. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.
Add the garlic and snap peas to the wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the wok, along with the Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry), soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Then give the cornstarch slurry a stir, and add it to the wok. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds, until the sauce has thickened. Serve with rice.