In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello, a chef, author and food stylist, shows busy moms how to make wholesome meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this video, Lauren shows Jennifer C., a busy mother of two and P.R. professional, how to liven up that same old chicken stir-fry she was sick of making by introducing her to this this recipe. Rather than using a bottled sauce, Lauren makes a delicious stir-fry sauce using three simple ingredients from Jennifer's pantry, and while she's in there, she grabs water chestnuts to give her stir fry great crunch.
The key to a great stir-fry? It's in the sauce, Lauren says. Her simple sauce includes three ingredients: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and cornstarch. Lauren adds the cornstarch to create a slurry -- a mixture that thickens once cooked and adds great body to the sauce and depth to the dish. She begins the dish by combining the ingredients for the slurry and then setting it aside to let the cornstarch dissolve.
As Lauren points out, changing the texture of a dish is a terrific way to create an entirely new recipe using similar ingredients. In this instance, Lauren finely chops the chestnuts, bell peppers and chicken. She first sautées the chicken -- no seasoning necessary -- stirring constantly until the chicken is browned and cooked through. She then sets the chicken aside on a plate. If you'd like to add even more flavor to the dish, you could choose to add garlic or ginger with the chicken -- though the sauce will add plenty of flavor on its own.
Next, Lauren sautées the vegetables, starting with the scallions and water chestnuts, followed by the red and green peppers. She offers a great time-saving tip: Chop the vegetables days in advance and store them in containers in the fridge, and you're ready to stir-fry on the spot! Finally, she adds the chicken back to the pan, followed by pine nuts and the slurry. After about a minute, the sauce thickens, and the stir-fry is ready to be served. She arranges large lettuce leaves on a platter and fills each with the mixture. Add hoisin sauce to each wrap before eating, or if you prefer your dish slightly spicier, try sriracha hot sauce.
Get the Recipe for Pine Nut Chicken in Lettuce Cups.