I was having a cupboard clear out yesterday, and I found 7 - yes that’s SEVEN - bottles of soy sauce. I’ve obviously got some kind of lack-of-Chinese-food-phobia causing me to pick up a bottle every time I do the shopping. Or maybe I should just clear out my cupboards more often….
And that was exactly what I was in the mood for yesterday. Something sticky, saucy and Asian inspired. I am trying to be a little healthier during the week, so I was looking for something packed with crunchy veg and bright colours too.
This one is a particularly good mid week meal that’s prepared really quickly. If you marinade the meat the night before, you can have this on the table in 20-25 minutes. If you forget to marinade it the night before (as I often do) then a 20 minute marinade will be just fine. You can still get this cooked in a little over half an hour.
Simply marinade chicken thighs with soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, chilli sauce, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar and a splash of sherry.:
The addition of the veggies thins the sauce slightly, so I also stir in a little cornflour/cornstarch slurry at the end, to thicken the sauce and make sure it clings to the chicken and vegetables.
I used chicken thighs here – far better than chicken breast in a stir fry as they’re more moist and tender. Chicken breast can have a tendency to dry up and become a little chewy when it’s cooked quickly.
I used the veg I had in, so use what you have. Carrots, red onion, spring greens, pak choi, asparagus – pretty much anything will work here. You can even add in some ready-noodles or serve with some rice if you’re feeling hungry.
Coming back to that cupboard clear out – yes, I found some mirin, Chinese rice wine vinegar and a bit of sherry in the endless rows of bottles. The addition of these less-standard ingredients really helps to build layers of flavour in the marinade. If you haven’t got them though, you can leave them out and you’ll still get a delicious tasting dish.
Can I make it gluten free?
Yes, replace the soy sauce with tamari. I would use 3 tbsp of tamari instead of 4 as I find it can be a little overpowering.
Mirin and rice wine occasionally contain gluten - so check your brand. You can replace with an extra splash of sherry.
Also, serve with rice or gluten free noodles.
Can I make it ahead?
This stir fry tastes best when made right before serving. However, leftovers can make a great salad the next day. Simply cook quickly, cover and refrigerate until the next day. Add a few leaves and a little couscous and you have a great lunch.
Can I make it vegetarian?
Yes, replace the chicken with a meat-free alternative such as tofu or quorn, or you can leave out entirely. There's no need to marinade if you're only making it with vegetables. I'm i'm making a veggie version, I like to sprinkle on some chopped cashews before serving.
The Sticky Chicken Stir Fry Recipe:
Sticky Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken and Marinade:
- 1 lb (450g) chicken thigh fillets - chopped into chunks
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce - (stored bought or homemade)
- 2 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp mirin - optional
- ½ tsp Chinese rice vinegar - optional
- 1 tbsp dry sherry - optional
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small head of broccoli - split into small florets
- 3 mushrooms - sliced
- 1 cup (100g) sugar snap peas
- 1 yellow bell pepper - sliced
- 2 packed cups (100g) chopped kale
- 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 small chilli pepper - deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 pinch chilli flakes
- Cooked noodles or
- Boiled rice
- In a medium sized bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients with the chicken. Cover in cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge - ideally for a couple of hours or overnight, but 20 or 30 minutes is fine if you’re short on time.
- In a wok or large frying pan add the oil and heat on high. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the chicken from the marinade, letting the marinade drip back into the bowl, and place in the wok. It will sizzle, so be careful not to get splashed.
- Turn the heat down to medium and let the chicken cook for a couple of minutes without moving it around. This will ensure you get a lovely sticky brown coating on the chicken. Give everything a stir and cook the chicken for another couple of minutes until it’s just about cooked through.
- Add in the reserved marinade and a splash of water, then and turn up the heat to bring to the boil (it must be heated to boiling, as it’s had the raw chicken in it).
- Turn the heat back down to medium and add in your broccoli. Cook for two minutes and then add in your mushrooms, sugar snap peas and yellow pepper. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the cornflour mix a little at a time, giving it a good stir. This will thicken the sauce and ensure it coats the veg nicely. If it’s looking too dry, you can add another splash of water and heat through.
- Stir in the kale for the last minute of cooking, then turn off the heat.
- Serve topped with some finely chopped red chillies and a few chilli flakes.
Can I make it gluten free?Yes, replace the soy sauce with tamari. I would use 3 tbsp of tamari instead of 4 as I find it can be a little overpowering. Mirin and rice wine occasionally contain gluten - so check your brand. You can replace with an extra splash of sherry. Also, serve with rice or gluten free noodles. .
Can I make it ahead?This stir fry tastes best when made right before serving. However, leftovers can make a great salad the next day. Simply cook quickly, cover and refrigerate until the next day. Add a few leaves and a little couscous and you have a great lunch. .
Can I make it vegetarian?Yes, replace the chicken with a meat-free alternative such as tofu or quorn, or you can leave out entirely. There's no need to marinade if you're only making it with vegetables. I'm i'm making a veggie version, I like to sprinkle on some chopped cashews before serving. .
Nutritional Information is per serving, without the serving suggestion of rice or noodles.
This recipe was first posted in July 2014. Updated in October 2018 with new photos, tips and recipe video.
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