Simple stir-fried chicken with snow peas
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I signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) this summer and have been chronicling some of the things I've been making with the bounty from the box each week on a separate blog. This particular dish happens to use the snow peas that arrived in last week's box. The first thing I thought of when I saw the little bag of the peas was a stir-fry. It's a classic way of using this particular ingredient, so why not start with the classics? 

Stir-fries are often mentioned when the topic of fast weeknight cooking arises. It is indeed fast and is also a one-pot dish. Sometimes when stir-fry is made at home, we tend to make it too complicated. We open up the Asian pantry and decide to throw it all in, using the logic that the more flavor we throw at it, the better. I know I've been guilty of this very philosophy in the past. You would think soy sauce brings plenty of flavor to the table but why not use a little black bean sauce? Oh, and how about a little oyster sauce? I bet a glug of hoisin would make a nice addition too! And we can't forget the squeeze of sriracha for heat.

In the spirit of simplifying, I went with the minimum. I figured soy sauce is, indeed, plenty of flavor and would allow the farm-fresh snow peas to exert their own flavor in addition to the chicken. The only other ingredient from the Asian pantry that got to play in this pool was Shaoxing wine. It adds a nice subtle flavor that tastes, well, authentic. If you don't have it then leave it out. It's no problem at all and your dish will still taste great. Oh, and there's also a splash of toasted sesame oil. That's in there because I love dark sesame oil!

This particular stir-fry won't have a lot of sauce. Personally, I like this kind better than the ones thickened with a cornstarch slurry. If you want a saucier stir-fry, you can add 1 cup or so of water or broth and then thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. You may need to add a bit of salt or soy to compensate for the extra liquid. Also, I'm using chicken thighs because I prefer them but feel free to use chicken breast if you prefer.

STIR-FRIED CHICKEN WITH SNOW PEAS

Ingredients: 1 lb chicken thighs, snow peas, 2 TB soy sauce, 1 TB Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 clove garlic, equal-sized piece of ginger, 1 TB vegetable oil, cooked rice

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into thin strips.
  2. In a bowl, combine cut-up chicken, only 1 TB of the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sesame oil and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to marinate.
  3. Clean snow peas and reserve.
  4. In a hot wok or skillet, add 1 TB of vegetable oil and grate in the garlic and ginger. You can mince them finely if you want, but it's easier to just use a microplane grater straight into the pan.
  5. Saute for 20 seconds or so and then add the chicken.
  6. Stir-fry for a minute and then let it cook for a couple of minutes without stirring so it gets a bit browned.
  7. Add the snow peas and stir.
  8. Add about a 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the pan and steam the snow peas a bit.
  9. Season the stir-fry with the other 1 TB of soy sauce.
  10. When the snow peas are done to your liking, you are finished. I like them to still have some crunch.
  11. Serve over rice.
  12. Eat.