Fresh green veggies, lean chicken, and crunchy cashews meet up in a sweet 'n salty glossy sauce! Learn how to make an easy Japanese Chicken Stir Fry, then customize it with your favourite vegetables.
I'm starting the New Year with this oh-so-good, super simple, naturally gluten-free Japanese Chicken stir fry with broccoli, bok choy and peppers. Seriously, this meal can be on your table in 20 minutes. Three cheers for quick weeknight dinners!
Stir fry dishes like this one or this Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry can be life-savers on busy nights. You can feel great about making a nutritious meal in no time flat!
And the best part of this recipe (besides that super tasty marinade) is that you can MAKE IT YOUR OWN. Add whatever veggies you like, change the meat (or omit it entirely), serve over rice or noodles, or just have it as is, like we did. You can avoid mushy, overcooked vegetables drowned in sauce by following the tips I've included below.
Let's make a grocery list and make this healthy chicken stir fry with vegetables!
Ingredients for Japanese Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli
- Chicken: any kind of boneless chicken, breasts, thighs or chicken tenders.
- Vegetables: broccoli, baby bok choy, white onions, red peppers, garlic
- Marinade ingredients: coconut sugar (or brown sugar), soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for paleo diet), mirin (substitute sherry, sake or white wine if you can't find any) and rice wine vinegar.
- Garnishes: cashews, sesame seeds, and green onions (scallions)
How to Make Japanese Chicken Stir Fry
This is a super simple recipe, but I've found that my stir fries consistently turn out beautifully if I follow the steps in this order.
- First, whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside,
- Next, prepare all your vegetables. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, then pat dry. This step is important. If they're wet, the vegetables will steam and turn out limp and soggy. And that is not what you want in a good stir fry!
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, like a cast iron skillet, over high heat. A very hot pan is the key to a good stir fry. Add a small amount of oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly.
- Add the broccoli and stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes or just until it turns bright green and is beginning to tenderize. Remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl.
- Next, toss in the slices of white onion, baby bok choy and red pepper strips. Again, stir-fry until bok choy becomes bright green and is beginning to wilt and peppers are starting to blister. Remove from the pan and add to the broccoli in the bowl.
- Drizzle in a tiny bit of oil, tilt to coat the pan evenly. Stir fry the minced garlic and chicken pieces until browned on all sides. Then add the marinade and stir to coat evenly.
- Transfer the vegetables from the bowl back into the pan, stir to coat with all that yummy marinade (which will thicken slightly), toss in cashews, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with a few slices of green onion.
Ready to serve!
This chicken stir fry makes a quick and healthy dinner. The glossy, flavour-packed teriyaki-style sauce coats every element, since the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. If you like a thicker sauce, cornstarch works well as a thickening agent, but you can get similar results using potato starch or arrowroot (although these last two sometimes make a sauce a little gooey.) Adding the marinade near the end of the cooking time works best for me.
Do I have to use a wok to make stir-fry?
No. Definitely not. In fact, most modern Western stoves are not designed to use a round-bottomed wok. A heavy-bottomed skillet is my preference. I love my cast iron fry pans for stir fry, as I can heat them to a very high heat. If you have a newer nonstick skillet, it will be safe to use at high heat as well.
And if you need more convincing that you don't need a wok to make stir fry, read this: 10 reasons to use a frying pan instead of a wok to make stir fry meals.
Make it your own and change it up! Substitute your favourite veggies or protein. Remember to cook the more dense vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts separately from leafy greens or quick-cooking peppers, as they will take a little longer.
What to Serve with Japanese Chicken Stir Fry
Spoon it over basmati or brown rice, or on top of your favourite noodles, (gluten-free if necessary). Or just have it as is, dished out straight from the pan. We like to serve stir-fry in bowls, so it stays hot.
Easy Japanese Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb chicken breast or chicken tenders, cut in bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups broccoli florets, trimmed
- 4 baby bok choy, sliced in half, lengthwise
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/4 med white onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin (a slightly sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari or soy sauce, or coconut aminos for paleo diet
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cornstarch (or arrowroot or potato starch) mixed with 2 tsp water
- Whisk marinade ingredients together and set aside.
- Have all ingredients chopped and ready to add. Pat dry (as you don't want the vegetables to steam.)
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Drizzle in a teaspoon of the oil and tilt to coat the whole pan.
- Add broccoli to hot pan, sauté for 2 - 3 minutes or until bright green and just beginning to become tender. Remove to a bowl.
- Add bok choy, pepper slices and onion slices to pan. Sauté for a few minutes until bok choy starts to wilt and peppers are beginning to blister. Remove to a bowl with the broccoli.
- Add remaining oil, tilt to coat pan. Add minced garlic and chicken pieces. Stir until all chicken pieces are brown. Add marinade, stir to coat completely.
- Add sautéed vegetables back into the pan and stir to coat with the marinade. If desired, thicken with a little cornstarch mixed with water. Then, toss in cashews, sprinkle with sesame seeds, garnish with sliced green onions and serve.
Like flavour-filled Asian quick dinners? Try these, too.
- Easy Japanese Chicken Yakitori Skewers
- Simple Singapore Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Asian Glazed Garlic Chicken
- Ginger-Garlic Glazed Korean Chicken Skewers
- 5-Ingredient Hoisin Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it in the comments section below.