CIBO CINESE DALL’ITALIA… Spicy Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry with Fried Rice

by valentinalucia

Guess who’s back after a long hiatus!

I apologize to readers for not posting in a very long time. I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy, for the past four months, and my free time was limited. Now I plan on getting back into the swing of thing with new recipes and tips as usual! Hopefully some of them will be inspirations from my semester abroad—like this one. You may be thinking, “Um, stir-fry was inspired by a semester in Italy?” Yes. Chinese food inspired from the country of Italy. In an attempt to recreate amazing spicy fried rice from my favorite Chinese restaurant in Florence, I created this homemade Chinese-food dish with a little help from my friends at Food Network Magazine—Spicy Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry with Fried Rice!

Believe it or not, Chinese food is really popular in Italy. There’s a ton of rosticcerie (take-out restaurants with hot and cold foods) specifically for Chinese food. My friends and discovered the BEST rosticceria near our campus called Il Panda (Via Fra’ Bartolomeo, before the intersection with Via Masaccio), and I specifically fell in love with their Hot Spicy Rice with Five Vegetables. I vowed to recreate it, or at least try, once I returned to the States, and this is my attempt. I paired it with a Food Network Magazine recipe for Chicken & Broccolini Stir-Fry which I put my own spin on as well.

The rice turned out good, but plain. The chicken dish, actually, turned out spicier than the rice! Mixed all together, both make for a great Chinese food dinner. Thanks to the oyster sauce and cornstarch, the chicken and veggies have that great, thick sauce you typically imagine when picturing Chinese food, and the arbol chilies, red pepper flakes, and chili garlic paste give the entire dish a really nice kick of heat. Just be warned—the prep for this dish takes longer than the dish itself does to cook! Make sure you get all of your veggies chopped and prepped early, and you’ll be all set!

Spicy Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Adapted from Food Network Magazine—Serves 3-6

Ingredients:

1 egg white

1 tablespoon mirin or dry sherry

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/4 cup oyster sauce

2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 bunch scallions, chopped

4 small dried arbol chilies

1 tablespoon chili garlic paste

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice

2 bell peppers (any color), cut into strips

2 small jalapenos, chopped

2 bunches broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets

1/2 cup edamame

1/4 cup cashews

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preparation:

1. Whisk egg white, mirin, and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch in a bowl. Add chicken cubes and mix to coat the chicken. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with oyster sauce and 1/2 cup water in a separate bowl.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant. Add chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 4-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

3. Increase temperature to high and heat remaining tablespoon of peanut oil in the skillet. Add onion, scallions, and chilies and stir-fry. Add chili paste and Chinese five spice and stir. Add peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Add chicken back into the skillet with broccoli, edamame, and cashews, and let cook for another 5 minutes. Cover if needed; if you want the veggies a little bit softer, covering the skillet will allow this to happen faster. Add oyster sauce mixture and reduce heat to medium, allowing the mixture to thicken with the chicken and veggies, about 3-4 minutes. Add sesame oil right before serving, mixing it all the way through; serve hot.

Fried Rice with Five Veggies

Adapted from Il Panda restaurant in Florence, Italy—Serves 3-6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon peanut oil

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 small bunch scallion, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 bell peppers (any color), chopped into small pieces

1 teaspoon Sichuan spicy sauce

1 egg

2-3 cups cooked white or brown rice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preparations:

1. Heat peanut oil on high in a wok. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir-fry until fragrant.

2. Add onions, scallions, and carrots and stir-fry until just softened, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add celery and peppers. Add Sichuan sauce and stir. After 2-3 minutes, move veggies to one side of the wok. Add egg beside veggies and quickly break up the yolk and mix into veggies. Cook and make sure all of the egg is completely done.

4. Add rice and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Add sesame oil right before serving, mixing it all the way through the rice. Serve warm.

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