Chinese-Style Broccoli and Chicken

Time for a confession: I’m Chinese-American, but I don’t really know how to make Chinese food. As a poor college student, trekking out to Chinatown every week to get the requisite ingredients didn’t work with my schedule, and my local grocery stores always overpriced the items in the “ethnic food” aisles. Now that I’ve graduated and have a bit more spending money, things like sesame oil ($11.00 for 12 fl. oz! That’s 5x the price of olive oil!) are a more within my reach.

I tried to start with something simple–broccoli, which I love and have been sauteing lightly with some olive oil + salt for years, and chicken, which I had zero experience making before this recipe. Meat is a mystery to me. I’m not a vegetarian, but I rarely buy and even more rarely cook meat. It scares me a little only because of my ignorance, but I put my big girl pants on and went to the grocery store and found a packet of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs and purchased it all on my own. My reward was this yummy dinner.


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1.5 inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
0.5 tablespoon + 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
0.5 tablespoon + 0.5 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
1.5 lb broccoli crowns, florets and stems, chopped
2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, and put into a large mixing bowl with the garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, 0.5 tbsp cornstarch, 0.5 tbsp salt, and sesame oil. Mix everything together really well, and marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Mix together the 0.5 cup water and 1.5 tbsp cornstarch.

In the meantime, cut up the broccoli, also into bite-sized pieces, and stir-fry it in a large pan with the 1 tbsp oil and remaining 0.5 tsp salt. Stir-fry broccoli for about 5 minutes, or when broccoli is fully cooked but still crisp. Transfer to plate.

Pour the chicken and its marinade into the same pan. Keep stirring until chicken is fully cooked, about 6 minutes. Then add the 2 tbsp oyster sauce, stir, and add the broccoli back in. After the broccoli has warmed back up, add in the cornstarch + water mixture, keep stirring until sauce thickens.

Serve over brown rice. Adapted from here.