This recipe is definitely ingredient heavy and can seem cumbersome on the on-set, but the results are well-worth it! 🙂 As long as you get the chicken marinating and your vegetables chopped, this recipe goes super quickly!
My rule of thumb is that I do not start cooking unti I have mise en place, which is just a really fancy way of saying that you have all your ingredients ready to go and arranged next to your cooking area. It expedites the whole cooking process, makes it more enjoyable (although it always is, regardless!), and then you are able to focus on the recipe rather than worry about something burning on the stove while you look for a crucial ingredient that is up next to be added to the pot/skillet!
This is such a wholesome, satisfying dish – the blend of the nuttiness, chili, garlic and the crunchiness of the peanuts and veggies really makes me hungry! Serve this alongside noodles or rice and you have yourself a very fancy looking meal!
1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed
1/4-1/2 cup scallions (a.k.a. green onions), whites only, thinly sliced on an angle
6 cloves of garlic minced and divided
1 tablespoon piece peeled, fresh ginger minced and divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey (or molasses)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup of orange bell-pepper, sliced
1/2 cup of yellow bell-pepper, sliced
1/2 cup of red bell-pepper, sliced
1 cup of sliced (or half-moons) of zucchini (no need to peel!)
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup toasted or blanched peanuts (skin removed)
Garnish options: thinly sliced green chili (for added heat), toasted sesame seeds (dark or light), lime wedges, fresh cilantro, red chili oil, sliced green onion
Marinate the chicken while you prepare the rest of the ingredients by tossing the chicken with the scallion whites, half of the garlic & ginger, soy sauce, sugar, honey, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, salt, sherry, and the sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes (can marinate for longer, if desired).
Meanwhile, mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in a small bowl and set aside for later.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and heat. Add the sliced bell pepper and zucchini, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for a few minutes until cooked, but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Keep the same skillet on high heat and heat 2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the chicken (and all it’s marinade) and chili flakes, if using. Stir-fry until the chicken is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter, peanuts, and return the vegetables to the pan and toss to incorporate. Heat through.
Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if you want to thin the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
Serving style suggestion: Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates and garnish with sesame seeds, lime wedges, and green onion. Serve with hot sushi or jasmine rice.