Hoisin Chicken Stir Fry with Baby Bok Choy

Hoisin Chicken Stir Fry with Baby Bok Choy

This quick hoisin-flavored stir fry is perfect for busy weeknights.  It’s loaded with nutritious vegetables, and kids love it.

My first experience with hoisin sauce — and Chinese food — remains vivid in my mind.  I was about 5 years old, when my favorite uncle began dating a beautiful Chinese woman.  For me, everything about my future aunt was exotic and alluring.  She was an artist, but she was also very elegant, and an excellent cook.

I fell in love with my Aunt’s culture, and her food, at first bite.  Over the years, I spent many hours next to her at the stove, as she shared her culture, cuisine, and family history with me.   If not her recipes, my Aunt’s cooking techniques and the flavors of her beloved homeland, have worked their way into my family’s routine.

I don’t ever remember eating hoisin chicken with my Aunt.  However, I like to prepare it on busy weeknights when I’m short of time and want to get a healthy, flavorful meal on the table quickly.  With a family of six, it is sometimes challenging to cater for everyone’s tastes.  However, this dish seems to have a universal appeal, and is always a hit.

The Ingredients

Don’t worry if you don’t have the vegetables I suggest in the recipe.  Chinese cooks are finicky about using the freshest, seasonal ingredients.  Thus, they would do exactly what I would — substitute whatever is fresh and seasonal.  Many other vegetables would taste excellent in this dish.  A few examples are:

  • broccoli
  • snow peas (mangetout)
  • baby corn
  • carrots
  • cabbage
  • spinach
  • mushrooms

If you do use other vegetables, bear in mind that different vegetables have different cooking times.  So, quick cooking vegetables, such as mushrooms and spinach, would need to be added later.

If you live in Johannesburg, as we do, all of the Chinese ingredients in this recipe are readily available at supermarkets.  If not, they are standard items available at even the tiniest Asian grocery.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is delicious.  Even if you’ve never cooked with it, you’ve probably enjoyed hoisin’s flavor in some of your favorite Chinese foods, like mu shu pork or Peking duck.

This tasty sauce is normally made of soybeans, red chilies, and garlic.  Nevertheless, hoisin is not at all spicy.  It has a salty, sweet taste that goes well with just about everything.  Here, I’ve used hoisin to compliment and enhance the flavors of the chicken and veggies.

Stir Fry

Don’t let the term intimidate you.  Stir frying is a super-easy, quick, healthy way to cook. Stir frying uses less oil, and keeps vegetables crisp-tender.  Cooked this way, vegetables retain more of their original nutritional value.  For more information on this cooking technique, see my technique page:  How to Stir Fry in 6 Easy Steps.


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