Chicken and broccoli is 100% on our list as a weekly menu item. The kids eat vegetables, and this only takes about 25-30 minutes to make. If you have prepared stir fry sauce, then this only takes 15 minutes tops. Chicken and broccoli stir fry has to be on every Chinese takeout menu ever, and there is a good reason, it is freaking delicious. Plus the profit margin on chicken and broccoli has to be at least 500%.
Tips for cooking Chicken and Broccoli
- Use Chicken Thighs. When I started cooking everyone was always telling me to use chicken breasts. They always said it was healthier (which it is), but when you are cooking with kids you 100% always get chicken thighs. They are juicier, much harder to overcook, and just taste better. Remember chicken things you cook are still a ton healthier than chicken nuggets from McDonald’s or any other fast food.
- Cook Broccoli until it turns bright green. A good hint is to pull out your broccoli just before you think it is done, then rinse it with cold water right away to stop the cooking process. This will make it so that you have nice and crunchy broccoli that isn’t too hard, but isn’t too mushy.
- Pre-mix your stir fry sauce. I know it is tempting to do the whole “I’m a wok’ing” master by mixing in the sauces, but in reality that is just too stressful. Pre-mix your stir fry sauce, and that makes it a ton easier to do. I find that if I don’t want to cook stir fry, it is always because I don’t want to make the sauce. If you mix the sauce ahead of time then you are removing the hurdle to cooking.
- You do not need a wok, but it is funner to cook in a wok. There is something about a wok, the heat it emits, and way it cooks. I do think it affects the taste , and I think it is mainly due to the heat of the wok and the seasoning of the wok. Don’t fret though, you can easily do chicken and broccoli in a non-stick pan.
This recipe comes courtesy of the Woks of Life, the best wok based recipe site around. I adapted the recipe a little bit, by not adding ginger (not a fan of for kids), subbing chicken thighs for chicken breasts (also tasty for kids), and upped the garlic (because I always add more garlic).
Chicken and Broccoli for Kids
- Wok or Non-stick pan
- 1 lb Chicken Thighs
- 3 tbsp Water
- 1 1/2 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
Stir Fry Sauce
- 2/3 cup Chicken broth (low sodium if you can)
- 1 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tsp Dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 5 dashes White pepper powder
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil (for cooking)
- 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 5 cups Broccoli florets (about 2-3 medium sized broccoli)
- 1 tbsp Shaoing wine
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch (mixed with 2 1/2 tbsp of water)
- Wash, rinse, and cut broccoli to make florets.
- Cut the chicken thighs into cubes that are small enough to eat in one-bite. Put chicken in a bowl that will be easy to mix the marinade in (I use a rectangular pyrex).
- Mix the chicken marinade together of cornstarch, water, vegetable oil, and oyster sauce. Then dump marinade over the chicken thighs and mix together.
- Marinate while you cook the broccoli, so about 5-10 minutes.
- Mix chicken broth, oyster sauce, sugar, white pepper powder, soy sauce, sesame oil, and dark soy sauce together. I actually like to do two batches (so double the recipe), and put in a salad dressing mixing container. This way I can do chicken and broccoli one day, and then another stir fry dish within a week. The sauce will hold for a week (limited mainly by the chicken broth).
Cook and Blanch Broccoli
- Get the work or non-stick pan and fill with enough water to boil your broccoli. When the water gets boiling add your broccoli. You want to boil your broccoli until it just starts to turn bright green. A good tip is to always error on the side of under boiling that over boiling, as you can always cook the broccoli more in the stir fry sauce. The broccoli should be no more than a 1 minute in the boiling water.
- Remove the broccoli from the water, and immediately rinse with cold water in a strainer or bowl. Then put the broccoli on a plate.
- Add 2 tsp of vegetable oil to your medium-hot wok.
- Add chicken thighs to your wok, and stir fry until chicken is cooked. This is typically about 5 minutes for me, if you are stirring the chicken a lot. Make sure not to overcrowd the wok with chicken. If you have a big wok then you can do all the chicken at one time, but I usually split the chicken into two batches of 8 oz and do them separately.
- When cooked remove the chicken to a plate with the sauce.
- Add 2 tbsp of vegetable to a wok on medium-high heat.
- Add your 3 cloves of garlic to the now hot wok, and stir fry until fragrant. This means the garlic will start to smell good, but will not be brown. A good sign is you will hear a slight crackling sound.
- Add your 1 tbsp of Shaoxing wine to the perimeter of the wok. The wine should steam up when it gets to the wok.
- Add your stir fry sauce, and reduce the heat of the wok to low. What you want is your sauce to look almost like a maple syrup texture. Not quite as thick as maple syrup, but more syrup than thin sauce.
- Add cornstarch slurry slowly to your mixture. If you add the cornstarch slurry too fast you get little balls of cornstarch and sauce that seem like gelatin in your sauce.
Add Chicken and Broccoli
- Add your chicken and broccoli to your sauce. I actually like to increase the heat from low to medium in this part.
- Then stir fry until you like the consistency of the sauce, and until your chicken is all the way cooked. Thankfully you are using chicken thighs so they are much more forgiving if overcooked.
- Serve and plate!