Flavorings punch up faux stir-fry

  • By Joe Gray Chicago Tribune
  • Friday, August 23, 2013 1:07pm
  • Life

Cabin cooking is different than regular cooking. Where’s the salt? How old is this oregano? Why don’t we have a good vegetable peeler up here?

Darn, forgot to buy herbs.

Like many people who vacation at a summer getaway, we adapt, especially since a well-stocked grocery store is a 40-minute boat and car ride away.

I once made a large batch of gazpacho for six people with no tools but a dull knife (sigh) and a cutting board. (No electricity in cottages on our small Canada lake.)

Which is why I called this dish a faux stir-fry when I served it this summer.

I had some chicken and a few vegetables. Someone had thought to bring soy sauce. But we had no spices or other condiments that would give the dish a Japanese or Chinese flavor profile. And certainly no wok.

Yet with a huge cast-iron skillet and lots of stirring, we had an approximation.

If you’re not reading this in a remote cabin (or you’re organized enough to stock that kitchen well), then reach for chopped chili peppers, red pepper flakes, fresh cilantro, freshly grated ginger — any flavorings you might like to punch up this faux-fry.

Or just rough it.

Cabin stir-fry

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon sugar, if needed

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken (thighs or breasts) cut in 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 carrots, sliced 1/8 -inch thick

3 bell peppers, mix of red and yellow, in 3/4-inch pieces

1 large onion, in 1-inch chunks

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Steamed rice

Whisk together the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce if you like. If tart, add a little sugar. Pour over the chicken in a bowl. Allow to rest while you cook the vegetables.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry the carrots until crisp-tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add more oil to skillet, if needed. Repeat, in separate batches, with the peppers, then the onion.

Drain chicken from the marinade, reserving marinade. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir-fry chicken, in batches if necessary, until cooked through, 8 minutes.

Return vegetables to the skillet with the chicken. Pour in the reserved marinade. Heat until the marinade boils; cook for 1 minute.

Transfer all to a serving bowl; stir-fry the green onions for 1 minute. Scatter them over the chicken and vegetables.

Serve with the rice and more soy sauce.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 376 calories, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 158 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 31 g protein, 719 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

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