While I was growing up, my mom not only was good at making food taste great, but she was also creative in using ingredients in smart ways, and always got dinner on the table in a really short period of time. I have no idea how she did it!
Chicken with bell peppers and onions was a dish that I remember my mom made a lot (she also made it with fish sometimes). Whether you use chicken or fish, this dish is hen xia fan (很下飯）, meaning it goes really well with rice, and may tempt you to get seconds and thirds of rice 😉
There was an abundance of peppers in my CSA this year, and judging from my co-workers gifts of long hots and habaneros to me, it was probably just a great year for peppers (and watermelon, too, so the CSA people said).
The first time I made this, I made the tragic mistake of underestimating the power of long hots. I knew some of the long hots were pretty spicy, as my co-worker Patti warned, but I didn’t think all of them could have been so spicy. Seriously..long hots? Hot? Hah! Yeah, right. So, I used 6 or 7 long hots in addition to other peppers, also thinking that it would be a good way to use up the long hots while they were still fresh. The result? Cloudy, watery tears, and several breaks from eating, just to let our mouths regain feeling. Hao guo yin! (好過癮) which means ‘how exciting/exhilarating’.
Oops. Next time, I’ll take some seeds out..(maybe 😉 )
Use your favorite peppers (or a combination of them) and either fish or chicken in this easy, fast, and tasty stir fry.
Ji (yu) ding chao qing jiao yang cong
Chicken(Fish) with Peppers and Onions
10 oz boneless chicken thighs or breast, or firm fish
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp rice wine
1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
~2 Tbsp oil
1″ chunk of ginger, thinly sliced
3 scallions, diced
2-3 bell peppers, or equivalent volume in any types of peppers, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1) Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces, and if you are using fish, 1.5-2-bite sized pieces.
2) Marinate the chicken(or fish) with the soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine, and oyster sauce. If possible, let it marinate for 10-15 minutes. Really, though, you can mix everything up right before you want to make this dish.
3) Heat a pan or wok to high heat, then add oil to coat the pan. Add the chicken or fish, and cook. If cooking fish or white meat chicken, cook until only 90% done. If cooking dark meat chicken, cook all the way- it doesn’t matter. Remove the meat/fish from the stove into a bowl.
4) Add a little more oil if necessary, then add the ginger and scallions and sautee until they are fragrant.
5) Add the onions and peppers and sautee for just 30 seconds or so, until the bell peppers barely start to soften.
6) Add the meat/fish back in and cook all the way through. Salt to taste (Try the vegetables). Once the meat is cooked, the onions and peppers should also be just cooked and barely soft- not mushy.
-You can easily substitute the chicken with firm fish. My mom used to use orange roughy, but I know it’s rather high in mercury. So, maybe catfish, halibut, or bass..
-If you are using a stainless steel pan because you can’t use a wok (like me with our electric stove, sigh), you may need to clean out the pan after cooking the protein and before cooking the other ingredients.