Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hot-and-Sour Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients for stir-fries are as varied and numerous as the cooks who make them. Nearly any vegetable is a tasty contender—simply cut them for quick cooking and add them to the wok in the order of longest to least time needed.

Whole or halved Brussles sprouts typically benefit from a bit of time steaming or pan-roasting, but cut into thin slices, sprouts are as easy to stir-fry as bite-sized pieces of any other vegetable.

Sauces for stir-fries are usually bold-flavored and may be hot, sweet, sour, salty, or savory—or all of the above. The sauce in this recipe gets its heat from sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) and sourness from the vinegar and lime juice. Sugar tempers the hot and sour ingredients with a little sweetness.

Two keys to stir-fry: Make the sauce first and set it aside so that’s it ready to go toward the end of cooking. Cut all the vegetables and meats into similar bite-sized pieces before turning on the heat. Once the wok is hot, dinner comes together quickly.

Serves 4


For the Sauce
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch 
Hot and Sour Sauce Ingredients
For the Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin 1-inch strips
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut lengthwise into very thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick
  • 3 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, (white and green parts separated)
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch strips
  • cooked rice noodles, for serving
Trimmed Sprouts 
Sliced Sprouts 
Other Stir-Fry Ingredients
Prepped Vegetables and Aromatics

For the Sauce
  1. Whisk the first 7 ingredients (through sesame oil) in a medium bowl. 
  2. Whisk the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Set aside and whisk again just before using.
Hot and Sour Sauce
For the Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
  1. Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss or stir to coat.
  2. Heat a wok (or deep skillet) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove to a bowl and wipe out the wok.
Cornstarch Coated Chicken 
Chicken Beginning to Cook
Stir-Fried Chicken
  1. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to the wok and add the Brussels sprouts, Thai chiles, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry 3 minutes.
  2. Add the white parts of the scallions and red bell pepper. Stir-fry 3 minutes.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan and add the sauce. Stir-fry 1 minute. Re-whisk the water and cornstarch and stir into the wok mixture. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Sprouts Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Stir-Fried Sprouts Mixture 
Bell Pepper and Scallions Added
Thickened Sauce

To serve, divide the noodles among 4 shallow bowls or plates. Divide the chicken mixture on top and garnish with the dark green parts of the scallions. Serve right away.

Hot-and-Sour Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

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