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Chicken and Snow Peas Ginger Stir-Fry

Makes 1 serving

Equipment: Cutting board, 8-inch knife, small mixing bowl, 8-inch pan, metal slotted spoon


1/4 cup of dry sherry or vermouth (or shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine), if available)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast half.

1/4 pound snow or snap peas

1 knob of ginger, about 1 inch in each direction

1 large or 2 small scallions

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, mix the sherry and cornstarch with a fork until the lumps disappear. Add the sugar and salt.

Cut the chicken breast into thin, short strips a little wider than French fries, cutting parallel to the grain of the meat. Put the chicken pieces in the marinade and set aside.

Wash your cutting board and knife properly, since you just cut raw chicken.

Cut the peas diagonally into pieces about as wide as the chicken pieces.

Peel the ginger (or just use your knife to cut off the skin — you won't waste much).

Cut into thin slices, then cut the slices into thin matchsticks.

Trim the root end and any wilted greens off the scallion, split it lengthwise to make it easier to slice, and then slice it as thinly as you can.

Place the oil and about half the ginger matchsticks in a small, heavy skillet. Turn the heat up as high as it goes, stirring the ginger with a slotted metal spoon.

In a minute or so when the ginger begins to swell and sizzle, lift the chicken out of the marinade and add to the hot oil (discard any excess marinade). The chicken will stick to the pan instantly. Don't try to dislodge it with your spoon until it begins to release of its own accord in a couple of minutes. Then you can stir-fry the chicken pieces until just opaque, with golden-brown spots. Lift the chicken out and set aside in a separate bowl.

Lower the heat on your skillet to medium. Add the remaining ginger and the peas and stir until the peas soften and brown in spots, about 4-5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the chicken pieces, and taste for seasoning, adding more sugar or salt to taste. Finally, add the chopped scallions and give a brief stir. Serve, with or without rice.

[For white rice: Fill a small (1-quart) pot with raw rice to the depth of one joint of your finger. Rinse by gently swirling with cold water. Pour off most of the water; the weight of the rice will pretty much keep it from falling out when you pour off. Add enough water for the level to reach the second joint of your finger. Bring to a boil; lower heat immediately and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is tender and water has been absorbed.]

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