Charles Phan has firm opinions about the right and wrong way to stir-fry. "A wok isn't like a salad bowl with a flame under it. You don't want to throw everything in at once and toss. You need to layer flavors by adding ingredients in the right order." That's why he stir-fries the chicken here by itself until it is deeply golden and juicy before he transfers it to a plate; after he finishes cooking the other ingredients, he returns the chicken to the wok so all the flavors meld.
Quick Chicken Recipes
2 plump stalks of lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
1 medium red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine, sake or water
1/2 cup Vietnamese Stir-fry Sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Asian chili paste
4 large scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
5 small dried red chiles
1 large jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.
In a large skillet or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until small puffs of smoke begin to appear. Add half of the chicken and stir-fry over high heat until browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the lemongrass, onion and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the Vietnamese Stir-fry Sauce, oyster sauce, chili paste, scallions, dried chiles and jalapeño; bring to a boil. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer until heated through, then serve.
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