Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby announce, with great pleasure, the end of my second semester of grad school. *wild applause* And what better way to celebrate this glorious completion than with a big fat bowl of Chinese food? *silence, crickets chirp* What? You were expecting alcohol? Since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, I definitely don’t need any of that. (See accompanying rant.)
Rather than waste $7 on a quart of something, I decided to try my hand at one of my dad’s many culinary fortes. Having never done this before, I peaked at a couple of recipes and came up with this lovely stir fry, which combines toasted almonds with chicken, veggies, and a honey-orange glaze that is more than likely better (and healthier) than take-out.
1 lb. chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup whole almonds
2 ½ cups sliced veggies (I used 1 cup carrots, 1 cup pea pods, and 1 can water chestnuts)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 cup chopped scallions
2 cups rice, cooked
¼ cup honey
¼ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tbsp. cold water
1 tbsp. corn starch
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Toast almonds over high heat for about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Brown chicken breasts in a pan for 15 minutes. Set aside. Chop when cool.
- In same pan, combine ginger and veggies (sans green onions) and stir fry for about 10-15 minutes.
- Whisk soy sauce, orange juice, and honey together. Add to vegetables.
- Once sauce comes to a boil, add chicken and half of the almonds. Heat for about 2-3 minutes.
- Mix cold water and corn starch. Add to sauce. Bring to boil.
- Serve stir fry over rice. Top with additional almonds and chopped scallions. If you have the dexterity, eat with chopsticks. =)
Of course, as with anything I cook, I think of some alterations as I go. First off, if you want it spicy, you can add some red pepper flakes to the sauce. Also, if someone is allergic to almonds, it is entirely possible to omit them… I just happen to like toasted almonds a lot, and the extras also go great on salads. ^^ The orange juice could easily be substituted for lemon juice or omitted entirely, in which case I would simply increase the amount of soy sauce used.
Happy cooking, all!