Chinese Chicken with Broccoli

Chinese stir fry is something most people just buy at the local take out place. When you have celiac you generally can’t do that. So many places use soy sauce that contains gluten. Plus their egg roll wrappers and long noodles are wheat based. But, I love Chinese food and so have to do my best to recreate my favorites. This is a classic; chicken and broccoli. I based it off a recipe on food network; from their kitchen.  I used thighs as they are juicier and I added extra veggies; that’s my jam! It was very tasty and healthier I am guessing than the typical takeout. Not a lot of work except the chopping and I cheated; got a bag of fresh broccoli florets on sale at the farm stand and they were perfect for this dish. You can leave out the extra vegetables like the pea pods but I know you will want them!

We enjoyed this over brown rice: I have a new trick to make better rice. I don’t have a fancy rice cooker but with a circle of brown bag paper I seal the top of the pot; goes right under the lid. The rice doesn’t lose as much moisture as it cooks and I think it comes out perfect.

One last thing; you could omit the fresh ginger and use ½ tsp. dried ginger; works in a pinch but fresh is best!

Chinese Chicken with Broccoli


1 lb boneless chicken thighs

2-3 scallions thinly sliced; angled is nice

2 cloves garlic minced

1 inch fresh ginger minced or grated (I grate)

1 Tbsp. gf soy sauce (LaChoy is gf)

1-2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. dry sherry

2 tsp. dark sesame oil

3 Tbsp. canola oil or mild olive oil

1 carrot cut on bias

5-6 cups broccoli florets

1 orange/red pepper cut in large dice

½-1 cup pea pods; ends cut off

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce


Directions: Cut the chicken into large cubes, toss them with scallions, half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, 1 tsp corn starch, ½ tsp. salt, the sherry and sesame oil. Marinate at room temp while you chop veggies (for 15 minutes). Mix the remaining corn starch with 1/3 cup water.

Heat your wok over high heat, add 1 tbsp. Add chicken, cook for 3-4 minutes, push up sides. Add another Tbsp. oil and then the carrots, top with broccoli and cook a minute, add yellow/red pepper chunks, garlic, ginger and pea pods. Cook maybe 2 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and hoisin sauce and mix the chicken in well.

Add scallions then cornstarch slurry and cook a minute. If you need more water, add a bit. Check seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Serve over rice. Enjoy!


Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry

This is another old school entrée. But old school often means very tasty and not too fancy (read complicated!) This is in that category. Lots of veggies, amazing flavor and super easy. I can’t think why I haven’t made it yet this winter.  So we had it the other day for supper. As easy and as tasty as ever. I simplified my Betty Crocker recipe just a bit. Feel free to add more or less veggies and vary them; just need that pineapple and some pepper for sure! Be sure that your soy sauce is GF: La Choy is my favorite brand.

Notes; use all the pineapple if you like lots of it. You can add raw bean sprouts instead of the celery or try sliced water chestnuts. Add them with the pea pods. If you hate any of these veggies sub in something else; I used some sliced zucchini in my most recent version; about a cup of it, added with the pepper chunks. I love lots of veggies.  You can add a bit more sugar and vinegar if you like your sweet and sour more pronounced. The chili sauce makes it a bit spicier.   Serves 4.

Sweet and Sour Pork


¾ lb pork cubes

¼ cup rice flour mixed with 1.5 tsp. ground ginger
2-3 Tbsp. mild olive oil

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. reduced salt gf soy sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. brown or white sugar

2 tsp. chili sauce (optional)

1 tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 large onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced in large chunks

2 celery ribs cut thin on bias

1 cup zucchini rounds

2 garlic cloves minced

1-1.5 cups pea pods ( I cut the blossom ends off before cooking)

¾ can drained pineapple chunks canned in juice; save juice for sauce

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, mix with half the pineapple juice

Hot cooked rice; I prefer brown rice but what ever floats your boat!


Roll pork cubes around to coat with flour blend. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil to wok, Heat and add pork. Stir fry (chow) on high using a big spatula or spoon to toss: brown all sides. I have a wonderful tool with a rounded front edge which is perfect in a wok; can’t stir fry without it! While the pork browns mix vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce and salt/pepper. Dump into medium sauce pan, add the pork once browned, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until tender. While it cooks make rice. When you got that going and have 10 minutes left on the pork, reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp. oil to wok, add onion, stir for 2 minutes, add celery, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper and zucchini , cook a minute, add garlic, cook another minute. Add pea pods, stir fry 3 minutes. Add back the chicken and sauce. Stir and add the cornstarch slurry and pineapple chunks. Cook a minute and then add most of the rest of the pineapple juice. Cook another minute; add more juice if too thick. Adjust seasoning. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy!  sweet and sour pork on plate


Japanese Eggplants with Ground Chicken or Pork: Delightful!

There is this recipe for chowed eggplant with ground pork that I make often when I can find skinny Japanese eggplants. Chowed means stir fried.  It comes out great every time I make it, slight addiction is my position on this recipe. This latest version uses ground chicken thigh meat instead of ground pork. If you get tired of pork or don’t eat it this is an excellent choice.  I bought it at Valley Farm Markets; their meats can’t be beat for flavor and value! I suppose you can used ground chicken breast too. Anyway, it worked very well.

I added some sticks of fresh zucchini from my garden  and a bit of sliced cabbage.  It was delish for sure. The original recipe is by Jeff Smith, out of his cookbook, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines; China, Greece and Rome. It is full of great recipes; where I got my potsticker and other dim sum recipes.  No judging here of Chef Smith; just enjoying great food…

Notes; can change out zucchini and or cabbage, for green beans, carrots, pea pods…but you can’t change out the eggplant.  Ground pork is excellent this way as well. Can use yellow onion rather than green if you prefer; cook a bit longer than scallions if you do.  You could also serve this with rice noodles; the wide kind you let soak in boiling hot water for ten minutes; that’s all the cooking it needs.

Angie’s Eggplant with Ground Chicken

1 lb skinny Japanese eggplant

1 tsp salt

½ tsp. light soy sauce, gf

1 ½ tsp. dry sherry or rice wine

½ tsp. grated fresh ginger

½ lob ground chicken, preferably thigh meat

2 tbsp. mild olive oil or peanut oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

3-4 green onions sliced in 1 to 2 inch lengths and cut in half if white part

1 cup zucchini strips; long rectangle shape

2/3-1 cup sliced green cabbage; not too thin

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Pinch sugar


Cut unpeeled eggplants into ½ inch thick diagonal slices and cut each in half the long way. Sprinkle with salt, let stand ½ hour draining in a colander.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Mix meat with soy sauce sherry and fresh ginger, let stand 20 to 30 minutes.

Slice or chop veggies.

Heat wok and add 1 tbsp. oil. Add ground meat mixture and flatten a bit; cook until browned lightly; flip over and brown other side; no pink showing; chop up with utensil and set aside.  Add rest of oil and then garlic, cook 30 seconds, add eggplant, cook until it appears more than half done; about 5 minutes; then add zucchini and cabbage, stir for 4-5 minutes, add sesame oil and green onions. Stir a minute, add pinch sugar, wok until cabbage is crisp tender.

eggplant stir fry on plate

Serve with brown or white rice.  I made my brown rice in my handy instant pot pressure cooker.  I did a cup of long grain brown rice, 1 ¼ cup water, 1 tsp. oil, ½ tsp. sea salt; Manual high pressure for 20 or so minutes, ten minutes natural release.  Easy peasy.


Pork Stir Fry: Delightfully Healthy

When time is short, the weather is hot and you are hungry for a real meal I find a stir fry can be a great choice.  It allows me to use whatever is in the fridge and pantry to create a fresh wholesome meal. For a starch my go to choice is often rice noodles, they come in skinny to very wide size and are so easy to prepare.  They take on the flavor of the rest of the dish which can be handy; no flavor conflicts here!

This version I am sharing today is a pork stir fry with those delightful medium to wide rice noodles you can get these days in most grocery stores.  I soak them in very hot water for ten minutes and drain well before stirring them into the completed dish.  Foolproof.

Notes: the veggie amounts are very fluid; use more if you like a lot of something or skip if you hate.  And sub in other things if you dislike any of the veggies I used; other choices are broccoli, onion, or snap peas. Best made in a wok; I have a small one I use all the time.  I guess you can use a fry pan; keep it hot and stir constantly.

Pork Stir Fry with Rice Noodles


rice noodles, any thickness; a handful; around a cup

3/4 lb of boneless pork cut into bite sized bits

½ tsp. dry ginger

1-2 tbsp. cooking oil (I like mild olive oil)

2 carrots; sliced on the diagonal

2 celery stalks sliced on diagonal

1 cup sliced zucchini; about ¼ inch thick

1 cup bok choy; I used bokchoy greens from my garden

1 cup thinly sliced cabbage

1 big garlic clove minced

About a tbsp of slivered fresh ginger

1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp. soy sauce (be sure it is gf)

Directions: Put the noodles in a bowl half full of very hot water; I heat it in the microwave until almost boiling. I break them in half before putting in water; up to you if you like long strands. Let stand ten minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the pork up into thin slices or chunks; nothing that can’t fit easily into someone’s mouth, sprinkle it with the dried ginger.  You can also sprinkle it with meat tenderizer if you like; I would put that on before the ginger.

Heat mini wok, add oil.  Add pork and stir it after a minute; start flipping over; brown all over lightly; 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Add celery and carrot, stir a minute or two then add cabbage, stir a minute, add the zucchini and garlic; stir 2 minutes then add the bok choy, stir 1-2 minutes.  Add the pork back and the fresh ginger slivers.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  You want the veggies to be a touch crisp but mostly cooked.  Pour in the cornstarch water slurry and 1/2 tsp. soy sauce.  Stir well and add the drained noodles; keep stirring as it cooks for one  to two minutes; add more water if not enough sauce to your liking. This last minute is critical to make the sauce clear; you need to cook the cornstarch. Taste and add more soy sauce if you want, also, season with salt and fresh black pepper to your liking.

I often use fruit juice for some or all of the water.  Pineapple is my favorite but orange juice works well for some of the fluid; adds a lot of flavor. Should serve 3 people.

This is a naturally gluten free dish.  If you dislike the rice noodles service it over rice. Enjoy!

Mongolian Beef Stir Fry: Awesome!

Don’t know why but I’ve been totally craving Chinese food lately.  Quick stir fry meals served over rice, with rice noodles.  With lots of veggies.  With beef, chicken, tuna.  You name I crave it!  And I make it ‘cause there isn’t any gluten free Chinese restaurant within easy reach of my house. So when I saw this recipe for Mongolian stir fried beef I knew I wanted to re-create it.  I confess I made changes.  Yeap; I did.  Honestly, I almost always change recipes some.  Just the way I roll. This time I added lots of veggies and took out the deep frying aspect.  Oh, and I took most of the brown sugar out.  ¾ of a cup of brown sugar is close to insane in a stir fry. Just trying to keep things healthy folks.  lemon blooms and beef with broccoli 009

And it worked.  Yummy meal over rice and no guilt because low in fat, sugar and full of healthy vegetables.  Sure there is beef in there but not that much and it is lean rather than fatty meat. I used beef sirloin but the original recipe off of used flank steak.  Use whatever cut of beef you like, if it is too chewy it will give you a chewy result; this is not a low braise but a fast stir fry.  I used plain sesame oil (not toasted!) but canola or mild olive oil both work well in rapid stir fries.

lemon blooms and beef with broccoli 010

So stop whining about there being no P.F. Changs around here.  You can do this, it’s not that difficult.  You do need a wok if you want to do it half decently. And yes, a gas range works hugely better for woking. I have a big one but my favorite kitchen pan is my baby wok.  Makes up to four servings in it easily and fits on burner a heck of a lot better than my big old wok from years gone by.  You can use a big one but honestly, my baby wok does 99 percent of my stir frying.  If you need to double this recipe, well then maybe you need a full sized wok.  But for 4 or less; small is best! lemon blooms and beef with broccoli 011

You may wonder why I need to make this recipe myself and call it gluten free when there is no naturally occurring gluten in it.  Well, a lot of soy sauces have gluten in them.  And a lot of Chinese restaurants do not prevent cross contamination.  If you have celiac even a tiny amount of gluten is a serious problem.  So I really can’t chance eating food from a Chinese take out place or most restaurants unless I am sure they understand this issue fully and can make truly safe food for me. Annoying for sure as sometimes I do miss eating Chinese take out…. For now though, I am more than satisfied by the authentic flavor of my new fav stir fry dish!

Angie’s Mongolian Beef with Veggies
Serves 3-4

¾ lb of beef round sliced into ¼ inch thick by 1 inch pieces

3-4 tbsp. corn starch

1 tsp. ginger

1 tbsp. oil for stir frying

1 large onion sliced top to bottom into long segments

2 cups or so of raw broccoli florets; make them like 1 inch wide and I cut the lower parts of the stems into 1/8 inch slices

2 carrots, cut on the bias to make long ovals. 1/8 inch thick

2 celery stalks cut on the bias to make long half moon slices; 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

1 tbsp canola or sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. fresh ginger minced or grated frozen ginger

1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar

1-2 tbsp. gf soy sauce or tamari sauce

3-4 green onions cut into slivers, optional


Sprinkle the ginger powder over the cornstarch on a sheet of wax paper, stir around. Roll the beef pieces around to coat them well.

Let stand while you cut up the veggies, up to ten minutes.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok to almost smoking hot.  Add the beef.  Cook a couple of minutes on the first side, stir up and cook a couple more minutes.  The heat should be fairly high to cook things fast. You want the meat to get crusty but not hugely overdone.  Remove to a plate; cover to keep warm.

Add another tbsp. of oil to the same pan.  Throw in the cut up onion and carrots.  Stir a minute. Add the celery slices.  Stir another minute. Add the broccoli stems, stir and then throw the rest of the broccoli on top. Add 2-3 tbsp. of water and let steam a minute or two uncovered.  Add the garlic and fresh ginger.  Cook a minute. Return the beef to the pan, dump the brown sugar on top, add the soy sauce.  Add the green onions if you want some, I went without this time but I plan to add them next time I made this yummy meal. Stir a minute or two.  Add more water to create sauce if there isn’t enough.

Serve over brown rice or white rice.

Note, these stir fry times and amounts are flexible.  If you don’t want one of the veggies leave it out or sub in something else.  If you want more soy sauce or more sugar; add more and taste to see how you like it.  I like things a tiny bit crunchy; taste and see if you need to cook another minute or two before you turn off the burner. I find stir frying rather freeform and fun.  It can use what you have available in your fridge and pantry.  I also would like to try this dish made with chicken.  Enjoy!

Original recipe inspiration from