Whether it’s Cashew Chicken Cumin Lamb or Mongolian Beef, I’m a huge fan of quick Asian stir-fries. They’re easy to prep, quick to cook, and delicious to eat, making them a perfect entree for a quick weeknight dinner.
This easy stir-fry is loaded with tender juicy slices of chicken, sweet snap peas, and savory shimeji mushrooms and comes together in about 10 minutes. But it’s not the quick and easy prep that makes this dish so appealing; it’s the taste. With a vibrant array of colors, tastes and textures this sesame snap pea chicken will literally turn the corners of your mouth upwards into an umami-induced smile.
I’ve used chicken breast here, which can end up like damp cardboard if it’s mishandled, but I have a few tricks I want to share with you to ensure the chicken is flavorful and juicy. The first thing is to slice the chicken thinly so it cooks quickly and evenly. This saves you from guessing whether the chicken is cooked or not. The next trick is to marinate it with salt and sake. This takes the bland, lean cut of poultry and infuses it with a ton of umami. Finally, I added some potato starch to the marinated chicken to lock in the chicken juices. The starch gels any liquids trying to escape, keeping the chicken nice and tender.
The marinated chicken then gets pan-fried until it’s about 3/4 cooked and then the snap peas and mushrooms are added and stir-fried for a few seconds. A simple mixture of soy sauce and sake gets added before the pan is covered with a lid for the snap peas to steam to crisp green perfection. To finish it off, a generous sprinkle of ground toasted sesame seeds gets toss in, imbuing the dish an intoxicatingly nutty flavor.
Sesame Snap Pea Chicken
With a vibrant array of colors, tastes and textures this sesame snap pea chicken will literally turn the corners of your mouth upwards into an umami-induced smile. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of Fresh Tastes.)
- For chicken
- 7 ounces chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon sake
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon potato starch
- For sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- for stir-fry
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3.5 ounces snap peas (trimmed)
- 3.5 ounces shimeji mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon ground sesame seeds
- Add the chicken, 1/2 tablespoon of sake and salt to a bowl and stir to combine. Add the potato starch and mix well to coat the chicken evenly.
- In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining 1 tablespoon of sake with 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce.
- Add the oil to a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken to the pan spreading out the slices in a single layer. Fry the chicken until it's about 3/4 cooked and then add the snap peas and mushrooms.
- Stir-fry for about 30 seconds and then add the sauce. Cover with a lid and steam for 1 minute.
- Remove the lid and let any remaining liquid evaporate. Add the ground sesame seeds and toss to coat evenly.
Yield: Makes 2 large servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.