As I was going through my pots and pans inventory last week, I came across my wok which I had stored away for almost a decade. There were various reasons for not using it, two of which were the smaller sink and ceramic cook top stove in our current house. It was a real pity because a carbon steel wok is actually the best kind of pan for stir fries. Having seen the wok again, I decided to give it a second try and I am so glad I did!
Since the wok is already seasoned with use, I merely gave it a hot water wash and heated it on the stove. After that I wiped a thin layer of oil all over the wok and it was ready for use. This Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fry was the first dish I cooked using my rediscovered wok and I absolutely love it. The family immediately noticed the difference. There was more heat and flavor intensity with a hint of smokiness in the stir fry. It is one of those things that you are not fully aware of why and how it was missing until you re-encounter it.
In Malaysia where the climate is almost constant throughout the year, most of the heavy weight cooking is done outside in the “wet” kitchen on a huge gas stove. This is to minimize greasing up the kitchen. I cranked up my electric stove and I must say it did a pretty good job. I did have to open the windows but since it is now warm outside, that was not a problem at all. I will likely continue to use this wok all through the summer months and even into fall until it gets too cold for the windows to be opened. By then, it is time to get back to heavier stews and baked foods.
If you do not have a wok, use a stainless steel pan. Do watch it closely though as a regular pan has a wider surface area in contact with the heating element. This can cause the the food to burn if left in the same spot for too long.
Now, back to this delicious Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fry. There are two stages to this stir fry. The first step is to fry the green beans on its own until just cooked. The second step is to fry the chicken with the cooked green beans added back only towards the end. This is to prevent over cooking of the green beans. A few dried chilies are added to give the slightly sweet plum sauce marinade a hint of spiciness.
- 5 dried red chilies
- 20 oz (560g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into quarter inch thick slices
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 oz (170g) green beans, trimmed
- 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp plum sauce
- 1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp pepper
Break dried chilies into half. Shake off seeds and soak in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Marinade chicken with plum sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, and pepper for 10 minutes.
Heat up wok or large fry pan. Once wok is heated, add 1 tablespoon oil. Fry green beans for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining 2 tablespoon vegetable oil to the wok followed by dried chilies and ginger. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
Add marinated chicken and continue to fry for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Return fried green beans to the pan. Stir to mix.
Pour in corn starch mixture and continue to stir. Sauce will thicken. Turn off stove. Drizzle sesame oil onto chicken and green beans.
Remove and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Serve this delicious Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fry piping hot with a bowl of rice. Then sip some oolong tea to complete your meal. Ahh…so tasty and satisfying!
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!