I didn’t grow up eating Asian food. My family is pretty much born and bred Southerners…hillbillies, my parents like to say…and we ate a standard Southern American diet while I was growing up, with an occasional spaghetti, pizza, or taco night. My introduction to Chinese food was with my high school speech and drama team. We had gone to the state finals in a Chicago suburb, and our coach arranged for us to have dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant. The food was good and I had my first opportunity to try eating with chopsticks. So at 17, I got hooked on Chinese food. Then while living in Saipan, I was exposed to a broader range of Asian foods and became enamored with the variety of flavors.
Chinese chicken and broccoli is a favorite dish that I’ve been making for years, and my kids love it, too. It’s one of those easy dishes that I can whip up on short notice because I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.
I’ve seen many different version of this dish. Some call for onions, scallions, or water chestnuts. Others add an egg white or a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the chicken marinade. And others toss the broccoli into the wok raw.
I used to toss the broccoli into the wok raw, but I found that steaming for just a couple minutes actually helped finish the dish better. Otherwise, the broccoli takes longer to cook and you have to remove the chicken before stir-frying the broccoli so that it doesn’t overcook.
Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
- 2 chicken breasts boneless and skinless (about 10 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons dry sherry or dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces broccoli florets
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 slice fresh ginger minced
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Slice chicken breast across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch thick. In a bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch, sherry, salt, and pepper. Make sure it’s coated evenly. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour about an inch of water into the pot and put the steamer basket in. Cover and bring to a boil. Place broccoli florets in basket and steam just until the color starts to shine, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- In a wok, heat oil over high heat for about a minute. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for just 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it is white and opaque, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken broth, and sugar. Stir-fry until broccoli is tender and heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve with rice.