This chicken and asparagus stir-fry recipe is a healthy dish that’s easy and fast to put together. Asparagus is in season right now, so it’s the perfect time to try this recipe out!
A Simple Stir-fry Formula
You’ll see that this recipe follows the same formula we use in most of our easy stir-fries:
- Velvet the meat: Velveting is a process of marinating meat with cornstarch and oil (and perhaps seasonings such as oyster sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, etc.) to keep it moist and tender after cooking. For this recipe, we’re adding water to our marinade, which makes the chicken extra juicy. For more information in this essential technique, see our post on How to Velvet Chicken for stir fry.
- Premix sauce: premixing all your sauce ingredients before you begin cooking is sometimes necessary, as the stir-fry process is very fast, and you don’t want ingredients to cook too long or burn. In this version, I include the cornstarch in the marinade itself, rather than making a separate slurry, since the ingredients don’t need to cook long in the sauce before thickening.
- Sear the meat: Sear the meat over high heat until about 75% cooked, and remove from the wok. This seals in the juices while preventing the meat from becoming overcooked.
- Put it all together: The stir-fry then comes together by adding any aromatics (such as garlic/ginger) and vegetables, and then adding the sauce and chicken back to the wok.
With this formula, every ingredient comes out just right. And while it may sound like a few steps, the whole process takes just about 20 minutes!
How to Cut Asparagus for Stir-fries
Anyone remember Martin Yan’s cooking show on PBS, Yan Can Cook? Kaitlin and I used to love watching it with our dad when we were kids.
His infectiously enthusiastic energy, legit cooking tips, and visits to Chinatown businesses made for some entertaining TV—especially for our food-obsessed demographic.
I remember one episode where he explained how to cut asparagus for stir-fries. It’s exactly how I cut them for this recipe!
Basically, you cut the asparagus on a diagonal—on a rather sharp angle—which shortens the fibers of each piece, making them much more tender (read: easier to chew!) You also end up with more surface area for the sauce to cling to.
Be sure to choose fresh asparagus for this recipe—avoid any asparagus that’s wrinkled or yellowing. We like medium-thick asparagus for stir-frying, but as long as it’s fresh, it will work!
On to the recipe!
Chicken Asparagus Stir-fry Recipe Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine the sliced chicken, water, cornstarch, oil, and oyster sauce. Mix until the liquid has been absorbed by the chicken. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the water (or chicken stock), cornstarch, white pepper, sugar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.
Heat your wok over high heat until it just starts to smoke, and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat. Spread the chicken evenly in one layer, and allow it to sear undisturbed for 30 seconds.
Stir-fry for another 30 seconds, or until about 75% cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the minced garlic. Cook for 15 seconds, and add the asparagus.
Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the Shaoxing wine and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, mix your sauce mixture to ensure the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Add it to the wok, and bring to a simmer.
Add the chicken back to the wok, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, and the asparagus should be crisp-tender.
Taste for seasoning and add additional salt to taste if needed. Serve over rice.
Read more: how to stir fry rice sticks | Family Cuisine