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Eric Akis: Teriyaki chicken stir-fry is quick and tasty

Serve this tasty — and quick — chicken dish with an Asian-style broccoli salad.
Chicken teriyaki stir-fry served with steamed rice and Asian-style broccoli salad. ERIC AKIS

An appealing thing about many Asian-style dishes is that they require only a modest, budget-friendly amount of protein.

Today’s recipe for chicken teriyaki stir-fry is an example.

To prepare it, you cut 227 grams (eight ounces) of boneless chicken breast or thighs into cubes — enough chicken to create two nice portions when it’s stir-fried and combined with peppers, onions, ginger, garlic and teriyaki sauce.

When considering what to serve with the chicken teriyaki stir-fry, I thought about how the dish might be served as a bento-box meal in a Japanese restaurant. In one compartment there would likely be steamed rice, in another, some kind of salad, so that’s what I decided to serve with the chicken, too.

The salad I made was like an Asian-style slaw, but rather than use cabbage as a main ingredient, I used chopped bits of broccoli, as well as a grated carrot, sesame seeds, soy sauce and green onion.

It proved to be a very tasty side dish to serve with the chicken teriyaki stir-fry.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry

This tasty Asian-style chicken dish cooks quickly, so have all the ingredients cut and measured before firing up the stove.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

Makes: two servings

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce (see Note)

3 Tbsp chicken stock

1/2 pound (225 grams) boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

• salt and ground white pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 small to medium onion, cut and separated into 1-inch cubes

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp cornstarch

Combine the teriyaki sauce and stock in a small bowl and set it aside for now.

To limit splattering during cooking, pat the cubes of chicken dry with paper towel. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Pour the oil into a 10-inch or similar-sized non-stick or cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sear it, turning it occasionally, until it’s cooked through and a rich golden colour, about four minutes. Remove skillet from the heat, then lift chicken onto a plate.

Set the skillet back over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and stir-fry two to three minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 30 to 60 seconds more.

Mix the cornstarch into teriyaki sauce/stock mixture until dissolved. Pour the teriyaki sauce mixture into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer it one minute, stirring the chicken/vegetable mixture as you do so, nicely glazing it. The chicken teriyaki stir-fry is now ready to serve.

Note: Teriyaki sauce is sold in the Asian-foods aisle of supermarkets. I used Kikkoman.

Eric’s options: For a spicier stir-fry, mix some Asian-style chili sauce, such as sriracha or wasabi paste, to taste, into the teriyaki/stock mixture.

Asian-style Broccoli Salad

Here’s a mayonnaise-based chopped-broccoli salad flavoured with sesame seeds, ginger and soy sauce. It makes a nice side dish for Asian-style dishes.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: None

Makes: two servings

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

2 tsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar

2 tsp roasted sesame seeds (see Note 1)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil, or to taste

1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (see Note 2)

1/3 cup grated carrot

1 small to medium green onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced, widthwise

Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sesame seeds, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate salad until ready to serve. It can be made a few hours before needed.

Note 1: Rich golden-coloured roasted sesame seeds are sold in the Asian-foods aisle of most grocery stores. If you want to toast your own sesame seeds, place raw sesame seeds in a non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Cook the seeds, swirling the pan from time to time, until lightly toasted and golden, about three to four minutes.

Note 2: A medium-sized broccoli crown, the top portion of the plant, should yield the amount of chopped broccoli needed here. Broccoli crowns are sold in the produce section of most supermarkets.

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Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.