On every Chinese restaurant menu in the US, you're almost guaranteed to find Chicken with Broccoli. I have to confess that growing up, this was not a dish that was served in my family. Its one of those dishes that doesn't really exist in China but has become ubiquitous in the Western world - much like fortune cookies which you'll never see in China.
Regardless of its authenticity or lack there-of, it is a dish that I do enjoy so I have no problems serving it up in my kitchen. Its relatively light and healthy, and broccoli is, by far, one of my favourite veggies - I have no idea why it gets such a bad rep. Serve this dish with a generous portion of steamed rice.
Sliced Chicken with Broccoli
Adapted from Shun Lee Cookbook
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large egg white
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups plus 1/3 cup chicken stock
10 ounces broccoli florets
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp rice wine
2 scallions, white part only, trimmed and minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally. Flatten the chicken breasts by pounding them on both sides with the flat side of a cleaver or a flat meat mallet until 1/8 inch thick. Slice the meat on a shallow diagonal to make 1-inch wide strips. Cut the strips into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Mix the chicken, egg white, 1 tbsp of the cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp of the salt in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
Bring the 4 cups chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the broccoli, and cook it is crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a strainer to drain, and discard the broth.
Mix the remaining 1/3 cup chicken stock with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, the sugar and the rice wine in a small bowl. Dissolve the remaining 1 tbsp corn starch in 3 tbsp cold water in a small bowl. Set the bowls aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come about 1 inch up the sides of the wok, add heat it to 300F. Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and stir gently, so the pieces don't stick to each other, until the chicken turns white, about 1 minute. Using a wide wire-mesh strainer, transfer the chicken to a colander to drain. Discard all but 2 tbsp of the oil from the wok.
Return the wok with the oil to high heat. Add the scallions and garlic, and stir fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the stock mixture and the cornstarch-mixture, and bring to a boil. Return the chicken and broccoli to the wok, and stir-fry until the sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings