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What’s for dinner? Try Vietnamese stir-fry for a change

By Linda Gassenheimer
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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Savor the sweet and sour flavors of Vietnamese cooking with this simple chicken stir-fry.

Nuoc mam, a fish sauce made from fermented anchovies, used in many Pacific Rim countries much as we use salt. It can be found in many supermarkets, and in Asian or specialty stores. More soy sauce or dry sherry can be used instead, though the flavors won’t be the same.

Regular radishes can substitute for the daikon or white radish.

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.

Tips: Make sure the wok or skillet is very hot before adding the ingredients; the oil should be smoking. Dried Chinese noodles or angel hair pasta can be used instead of the steamed Chinese noodles.

VIETNAMESE SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp. fish sauce (nuoc mam)

1½ tbsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

½ cup water

2 tsp. sesame oil

¾ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch strips

½ cup sliced onion

½ cup sliced carrot

½ cup peeled, sliced daikon (white) radish

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ 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.

STIR-FRY NOODLES

¼ lb. Chinese steamed egg noodles

1 tsp. 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.


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