Try Vietnamese stir-fry for a change

  • By Linda Gassenheimer McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Thursday, March 27, 2014 4:05pm
  • Life

Savor the sweet and sour flavors of Vietnamese cooking with this simple chicken stir-fry. An important ingredient in Vietnamese cooking is Nuoc Mam, a fish sauce made from fermented anchovies. It is used in many Pacific Rim countries much as we use salt. The sauce adds a depth of flavor to the dish. It can be found in many supermarkets in the Asian food section. It can also be found in Asian or specialty stores. More soy sauce or dry sherry can be used instead. The flavors won’t be the same, but the meal will be tasty.

A Daikon or white radish is used in the dish. It can be found in some supermarkets. As a substitute, regular radishes work well.

To speed up cooking in a wok, place all of the ingredients on a plate or cutting board in the order of use. You won’t have to look back at the recipe to see what goes in next.

Helpful hints

  • Make sure the wok or skillet is very hot before adding the ingredients. The oil should be smoking.
  • Slice vegetables in a food processor fitted with a thin-slicing blade.
  • Dried Chinese noodles or angel hair pasta can be used instead of the steamed Chinese noodles.

Vietnamese sweet and sour chicken

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium, soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1 1/2-tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup peeled, sliced daikon (white) radish
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 medium tomato, cut into 6 wedges

Mix the soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch and water together. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from the wok to a bowl. Add the onion, carrot, radish and garlic to the wok. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the tomato and return the chicken to the wok. Stir the sauce and add to the wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove to a bowl. Following the recipe below, stir-fry noodles in same wok. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 370 calories (22 percent from fat), 9.2 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 3.0 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 40.7 g protein, 29.3 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 1077 mg sodium.

Stir-fry noodles

  • 1/4 pound Chinese steamed egg noodles
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Boil for 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain. As soon as the chicken and vegetables have been removed from the wok, add the sesame oil and noodles to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the noodles between 2 dinner plates and spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauce on top. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 239 calories (18 percent from fat), 4.8 g fat (1.0 g saturated, 1.6 g monounsaturated), 48 mg cholesterol, 8.1 g protein, 40.6 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.

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