Monday, 22 February 2016


When you've had the most horrendous week in work, you want to walk in on a Friday evening and have one of your favorite meals without having to stand around for hours preparing and cooking it. This is where my sweet and spicy stir fry comes in. Asian food has to be my favorite and this oriental dish takes some of those classic flavors including the holy trinity of garlic, ginger and chili, mixes it with some Quorn chicken pieces, five spice powder, fresh vegetables, coriander and a liberal helping of sugar to create this super quick and simple dish.

To begin with I'll say that a lot of the components in this recipe are essential to the balance of this dish, in particular the garlic, ginger, chili and five spice powder. I would heavily advise you don't leave them out or replace them otherwise you may not get the flavor you were looking for. Spicy is in the title of this recipe! There is a lot of chili action going on so if your not a fan of heat in your meals then run away now, this is not the recipe for you.

Further Asian pizzazz comes in the form of the shaoxing rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Again, if you really want the full impact of this dish you need to invest in bottles of these two ingredients and you really should! They will last you a while and you can use them in an array of Asian dishes so they shouldn't be languishing in your cupboard becoming a waste of money.

The use of spring onions in the dish is very oriental and what's great about this recipe is that it also uses the greens of the onions which are often criminally thrown away by most people as a garnish. You can use a white or red onion instead if you wish but don't be using raw pieces of these to garnish otherwise that strong raw onion flavor is going to overpower everything.

This is a vegetarian recipe hence the use of the Quorn chicken pieces. You can use a meat such as chicken or beef if you wish just make sure that the meat is cooked fully before serving. This may take a little longer than when using Quorn so bear this in mind when working with the timings below.

I've used peppers in this recipe to add a bit of crunch to the dish. I only add them in near the end so that they don't go soft as I do like that crispy texture a pepper can bring to a stir fry but if you're not so keen then you can leave them out or fry for a little longer so they do get a bit softer. The mushrooms are also optional but do work really well in this dish. Feel free to add any other vegetables you think might work in this stir fry as well. 

Now for the sugar, I'm using a soft light brown sugar. That caramel like flavor of light brown sugar is perfect when working together with the chili heat in this dish. It's not ideal but if you don't have light brown sugar then you can use caster sugar instead but don't use granulated as it will be too grainy in the stir fry and dark brown sugar will be too sickly and overpowering so is best to be avoided as well.

I've mentioned the spring onion greens being used in the garnish above and this is alongside some sliced raw chili (told you it was not for the faint hearted!) and fresh coriander leaves. Whilst the garnish is not essential it does bring a freshness to the dish that works really well with the bold Asian flavors in the stir fry. There is no point using dried coriander leaves as it doesn't have the same effect but you can leave the raw chili out at a push if you think it might tip you over the spicy edge. For the spring onion greens make sure they are washed thoroughly to remove any soil and grit which is just nasty to get in your mouth!

So after all that waffle, lets get cracking with this speedy recipe. It will make enough for four people when served alongside a generous helping of rice.

Sweet And Spicy Speedy Stir Fry

200g Quorn Chicken Pieces
1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
4 Grated Garlic Cloves
3 Finely Chopped Chilies
2 Tsp Five Spice Powder
Handfull Chopped Mushrooms
5 Chopped Spring Onions (Whites And Greens Separated)
1 Green Pepper Cut Into Strips
2 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
Handfull Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves

  1. Heat an oiled wok on a high heat until the oil begins to smoke and add in the Quorn pieces. Fry until they soften slightly and then add in the ginger, garlic, 2/3 of the chilies and the five spice powder and give everything a good mix together.
  2. Add in the mushrooms and the whites of the onions and fry until the mushrooms begin to soften before adding in the green peppers with the Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, brown sugar and a splash of water. Give everything a good stir and fry for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolves, the water reduced and everything looks shiny and sticky.
  3.  Remove from the heat and dish out onto piles of rice, garnishing with the spring onion greens, the remaining chili and the coriander leaves.
Grab your chopsticks and get stuck into your fabulous speedy stir fry. Once you have prepped all the ingredients beforehand you can have this stir fry ready in under 30 minutes. Perfect if you need to eat something right now! Once you tuck in you will get the initial fresh hit from the raw garnish, follow by wave of sticky sweetness from the sugar, rounding off with that punch of chili that will make your lips tingle. It's like going on a journey through all the taste sensations of your taste buds! When you have recipes in your back pocket like this then you have no excuses not to make a delicious home cooked meal everyday. Now that is sweet!

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