Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken And Broccoli Stirfry/All in a day's Wok.

If you knew what went into the woks at your favourite Chinese restaurants, you wouldn't ever eat a stirfry again: at least if you were the type to love your clothes/arteries. Appalling amounts of oil maketh a stirfry, I kid you not. Go check one of those How to videos at Videojug or e-How, if you don't believe me. So you resign yourself to ordering clear soup and dimsum (yum) at Mainland China. Maybe steamed rice and Jasmine tea. You're planning to fill your unhealthy quotient with darsaan (fried noodles soaked in honey) or date pancakes. Holy Yum.

Also, there's the minor problem of "Is there Shaoxing wine/sake/mirin in this?" when you're eating Asian food at posh restaurants.

And at the end of the meal, while chewing on your candied ginger, Incomplete!Incomplete!Incomplete! flashes in your head, as opposed to Mmm-mmm-mmm. You really did want a stirfry, oily or not. A good way to circumvent this would be to doctor up the recipe with healthier substitutes. Throw some veg in, some chicken, light soy, and you can have your stirfry and eat it too. I also associate stirfries with quick; no slaving over the stove for hours during a Madras Summer day for me.

I insist you try this recipe out. Don't expect it to taste anything like the Chilli beef from Pupil. But for a weekday dinner, this was pretty impressive. Even picky eaters loved it, and it's way healthier than taking out Chinese food from your nearest fast food restaurant. Orange gravies, egg fried rice and vegetable spring roll? Sounds familiar?

Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry.

Recipe Source: adapted from Betty Crocker, and Videojug for the Indian kitchen.


1/2 kg Chicken, boneless.
1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets.
5 tbsp light soy sauce.
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste.
3 tbsp white vinegar.
2 tsp brown sugar/honey.
1 tsp sesame seed oil.
1 tbsp green chilli sauce.
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips.
200 g button mushrooms, quartered.
2 carrots, sliced.
1 large onion, chopped.
1-1/2 cups chicken broth.
3 tsps cornflour/cornstarch.
1/3 cup roasted cashews.
Vegetable oil, for greasing.
Sesame seeds, for garnish.


1)Steam/boil the broccoli in salted water.

Sorry about the blurred photo! Just so you know
the approximate size of the chunks before steaming.
  2)In a medium sized bowl, mix together the soy sauce, ginger garlic paste, vinegar, honey, green chilli sauce and sesame seed oil.

I used a jar to shake it all up effectively.

Work with what you have. Red chilli sauce can be used if you don't have green chilli. Lesser amounts, if you're using dark soy. If  you have oyster/hoisin sauce, throw a bit of that in. No brown sugar? Honey or regular white sugar to the rescue. And sesame seed oil is just regular old Idhayam Nal Ennai that Jyothika used to endorse; you get it even in 2 rupee packs.

2)Cut the chicken into chunks. Marinate the pieces in the mix you just made. Keep in the refrigerator, covered, for at least four hours/overnight.

3)Take the chicken out. RESERVE THE MARINADE. Place a non-stick wok/vessel on medium-high. Use either a little oil or butter-flavoured cooking spray to grease it. Throw in the chicken, cook for a 3 or 4 minutes. When done, take it out and drain. Do be careful. Overcooking=stringy, rubbery meat. Undercooking=food poisoning.

4)Turn up the heat to high. In the same vessel, add your broccoli and carrots. Stirfry for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, stirfry until cooked, 2 minutes or so. Add the onion and the red pepper strips, stirfry until pink. Add the rest of the marinade to this, and mix well with all the components. I didn't have any red pepper, so I had to do without it.

5)Add the chicken broth to the pan, reserving around 1/2 cup. I used a packet of Broccoli soup. This the reason why you really don't need salt in the recipe. The soy sauce, the broth, the cashews pack in all the sodium you need.

6)Let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chicken, toss the whole thing about, so the chicken takes up all if it. Cook for a couple of minutes.

7)Whisk the cornflour into the remaining broth. Add the mix to the pan, coating everything about. Cook until the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Taste it now. If you feel it needs salt or heat, feel free to add pepper/chilli sauce/salt.

8)Add the cashews, give it a final toss-about. I didn't have pre-roasted cashews, so I dry-roasted them with a pinch of salt. I also roasted the sesame seeds. Ensure that it doesn't burn! Take it off the heat.

Strew the sesame seeds on top. Serve piping hot with Chinese rice (which in my case was regular rice spiked with a few teaspoons of vinegar, a la sushi rice) or noodles.

Yes. Those are rotis. They are in no way Chinese, I agree. I had to placate Mum; she panicked a bit when she heard that "chicken gravy" and a scoop of rice was dinner. More than a bit. Turns out they're pretty darn good wrapped into a roti or big, crunchy lettuce leaves.

Finally. Fusion that is not "Gopi Manjurian". 


  1. Because cornflour is super-healthy??

  2. P.S: I don't really care. I just wanted to point out the glitch in your logic.

  3. I don't profess to make only healthy food, but as you can see, I haven't even tagged this post as healthy. Also, to just set you straight:

    Cornflour=made from dried kernels of corn/maize. Whilst large consumption of maize can limit the aminoacid tryptophan in your body, leading to Pellagra, 1/2 a teaspoon does nothing. The worst that can happen to a chronic consumer of cornstarch/flour is what happens to a chronic consumer of maida. It's just a refined starch, like maida.

    I think you have cornflour mixed with Monosodium Glutamate/Ajinomoto. Or you've read misleading articles in the past.

    Thanks for pointing out what you thought was a flaw! Remember, we're all human. :)

  4. Gopi Manchurian! HAHAHA.