Monday, February 12, 2007

Satay Chicken Stir Fry
By Vince Yim, OP U-Grill Attendant

(submitted to The Other Press for the upcoming issue, to be released around Chinese New Year)

Stir-fry remains one of the simplest dishes to prepare in Chinese cuisine. Consisting of vegetables, meat, seasonings, and a bit of corn starch, one can use a lot of imagination and experiment frequently, providing different meals with a few substitutions. With enough planning and practice, one can easily go from countertop to stove to serving dish in a matter of minutes.

With traditional Chinese cooking, the tools are specialized, although typical North American household appliances make it difficult to accurately duplicate the exact technique of a Chinese restaurant, especially since electric stoves typically have flat electric elements (as opposed to open gas flame) and the range fan will not often be sufficient to handle the grease vapours (this results in a greasy film on your kitchen surfaces). That, and the high heat and metal cooking utensils can destroy the Teflon coating on modern cooking pans. Still, one can come close, with just enough patience.

My dad taught me the basic technique when I was younger and I’ve been experimenting with it ever since. This version in particular uses Satay sauce, available at most Asian food stores (such as T&T Supermarket). Satay is a spicy peanut sauce with shrimp and a touch of coconut. Admittedly, this owes a bit more to Malaysian or Singapore cuisine, but considering the large (if not predominant) Chinese populations of those countries and the alleged Chinese origins of Satay meat skewers, Satay-flavoured dishes do have a place in Chinese cuisine.


  • 1/3 lb chicken meat (I prefer dark thigh meat, although some may prefer white breast meat)
  • 1 green pepper, small
  • 1/2 can of baby corn
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Satay sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Season to taste: soy sauce, black pepper, garlic, salt, ginger


1: Dice chicken and mix with 1 tbsp of Satay sauce (the remaining amount will be used later) and whatever seasoning you wish to use.
2: Cut vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. Cut onion into smaller pieces.
3: Heat wok over medium to medium/high heat. When wok is sufficiently heated (test by flicking drops of water on pan), add 1 tsp of cooking oil. Add onions (and diced garlic and ginger, if desired).
4: Add chicken. Stir meat in wok until sufficiently seared on all sides. Remove from pan and into separate bowl. This is done to prevent overcooking chicken, as vegetables typically take longer to cook.
5: Add vegetables and stir. Depending on how tender you like your vegetables, you may wish to pour about 1/4 cup of water, then cover the wok. The vegetables will be sufficiently cooked once steam rises from the lid.
6: Add cooked chicken to the mix.
7: While mixing the contents, prepare the sauce. Take the remaining tablespoon of satay, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup of water and mix in a separate bowl. Add to the mix.
8: Continue to stir ingredients thoroughly, until all ingredients are coated with sauce mixture and sauce turns clear.
9: Serve with rice.

Serves 1-3.

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