If you like chicken but are ready for a change from all your same-ole-same-ole dishes, try this easy stir-fry tonight — you may very well even have all the ingredients in your freezer, fridge, and cupboards. This Asian-Mexican dish is simple to make, delicious, and will make great leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.
- 2 tablespoons pork leaf lard (sesame oil, or vegetable oil)
- 4 chicken breasts (sliced, strips 1/2 inch wide)
- 1 red onion (coarsely chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 3 cups Mexican rice (cold)
- 1 (15 ounces) can pinto beans (drained, rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Soy sauce or salt (to taste)
Heat the 2 tablespoons of lard or oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the strips of chicken and stir-fry for 10 minutes.
Add the onion and garlic and cook together for another 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Reduce heat to low. Add the rice, beans, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Continue to stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until heated through. Add soy sauce or salt to taste.
Serve immediately. Any leftovers will keep nicely in the fridge; reheat in skillet or microwave for a delicious “re-run” of flavors.
- Chicken breasts are much easier to slice with a knife if they are semi-frozen, so stick them in the freezer for an hour before using and you’ll have to work a little less hard. If there’s no time to freeze your chicken, cut it into strips with kitchen scissors instead of a knife.
- Add some Mexican vegetables to the mix. Try some diced summer squash (zucchini or similar) or some thinly sliced chayote; add at the same time as the onion and garlic. Don’t forget a little seeded and diced jalapeño or serrano pepper, too, if you like heat.
- Include an Asian-style vegetable or two, if you prefer: fresh, tender snow peas or bean sprouts work well, or how about some (drained) canned bamboo shoots?
- Trade some or all of the rice for cooked hominy. If using canned hominy, drain it thoroughly first.
- Include some diced or thinly sliced fresh jicama in your stir-fry to add fiber, fun, and a crunchy element to the mix. Chinese-style restaurants in Mexico often use jicama in their dishes since water chestnuts are exotic and difficult to come by there.
- When serving, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or a mixture of finely diced raw onion and chopped cilantro over the top of each portion.