Try a Vietnamese stir-fry for a change

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Savor the sweet and sour flavors of Vietnamese cooking with this simple chicken stir-fry. An important ingredient in Vietnamese cooking is Nuoc Mam, a fish sauce made from fermented anchovies. It is used in many Pacific Rim countries much as we use salt to deepen flavors. It can be found in many supermarkets in the Asian food section, or in Asian specialty stores. If you substitute more soy sauce or dry sherry, the flavors won't be the same, but the meal will be tasty.

Daikon or white radish can be found in some supermarkets, or substitute regular radishes.

To speed up cooking in a wok, place the prepared ingredients on a plate or cutting board in the order of use. You won't have to look back at the recipe to see what goes in next.

HELPFUL HINTS:

• Make sure the wok or skillet is very hot before adding the ingredients. The oil should be smoking.

• Slice vegetables in a food processor fitted with a thin-slicing blade.

• Dried Chinese noodles or angel hair pasta can be used instead of the steamed Chinese noodles.


Vietmamese Sweet and Sour Chicken

Makes 2 servings.

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce (nuoc mam)

1½ tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ cup water

2 teaspoons sesame oil

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch strips

½ cup sliced onion

½ cup sliced carrot

½ cup peeled, sliced daikon (white) radish

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ medium tomato, cut into 6 wedges

Mix the soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch and water together. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from the wok to a bowl. Add the onion, carrot, radish and garlic to the wok. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the tomato and return the chicken to the wok. Stir the sauce and add to the wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove to a bowl. Following the recipe below, stir-fry noodles in same wok.

Per serving: 370 calories (22 percent from fat), 9.2 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 3.0 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 40.7 g protein, 29.3 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 1077 mg sodium.


Stir-Fry Noodles

Makes 2 servings.

¼ pound Chinese steamed egg noodles

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Boil for 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain. As soon as the chicken and vegetables have been removed from the wok, add the sesame oil and noodles to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the noodles between 2 dinner plates and spoon the chicken, vegetables and sauce on top.

Per serving: 239 calories (18 percent from fat), 4.8 g fat (1.0 g saturated, 1.6 g monounsaturated), 48 mg cholesterol, 8.1 g protein, 40.6 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.