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!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hot-and-Sour Shrimp and Chicken Stir-Fry

A flavor-loaded sauce is often the highlight of a stir-fry dish, and I think that’s the case for this recipe. Small pieces of tender chicken breast and briny shrimp bring their own good flavors to the plate, along with the vegetables and herbs, but it’s the sauce that says hello with every bite.

The heat here isn’t overpowering—there’s just enough to balance the sour ingredients and enhance the overall flavor of the sauce. Don’t skip the cornstarch slurry—it helps to thicken the sauce and gives a glossy finish to the other ingredients.

Tip: I think I’ve said (written) this a hundred times, but it’s just as important now as always before: Stir-fries are beautiful…and fast. That’s why it’s important to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to cook before you turn on the fire. Then everything is as easy as it is tasty.

Serves 4


For the Sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp chile garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Partial Ingredients
For the Shrimp and Chicken
  • 4 oz rice noodles (sticks)
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated
  • 1/3 lb small-medium shrimp (36-40 count), shelled, deveined, and cut crosswise in half
  • 1 large egg
  • unsalted cashews, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges, for serving

Prepared Shrimp and Chicken

For the Sauce
  1. Whisk the chicken broth and next 5 ingredients (through chile garlic sauce) in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl.
  3. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil. Add the Thai chiles, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry 45 seconds. Add the broth mixture and simmer 2 minutes. (Reduce the heat if the mixture comes to a hard boil.)
  4. Re-whisk the cornstarch slurry and add to the wok. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened, 30-45 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. Do not wipe out the wok.

Combined Mixture  
Chile Mixture Beginning to Cook

Chicken Broth Mixture Added
Cornstarch Slurry Added
For the Shrimp and Chicken
  1. Bring a pot of water to a light boil. Remove from the heat and add the rice noodles. Let soak 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Re-heat the wok over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil. Add the chicken, bell pepper, and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry 3 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and stir-fry 2 minutes.
  4. Push the chicken mixture to the side of the wok and crack the egg into the other side. When it begins to set, use a spatula to break it into pieces and stir into the other ingredients.
  5. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry 1 minute. Re-stir the hot-and-sour sauce and add to the wok. Simmer, stirring a few times, until slightly thickened, 1 minute.

Chicken and Vegetables Beginning to Cook 
Shrimp Added 
Egg Added 
Egg Stirred In
Noodles Added
Divide the stir-fry and sauce among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with cashews, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Hot-and-Sour Shrimp and Chicken Stir-Fry

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