Sweet Chili Sauce makes pretty much everything delicious, the only problem being it’s made up almost entirely of white sugar… so for a while now I’ve eliminated it from our refrigerator. However, like I said it’s incredibly delicious, so I finally came up with a healthier version to get this wonderful sauce back in our life! Since I err on the side of easy (or read lazy/strapped for time) in my recipes, my chili sauce would probably be qualified as a hack. This means only good things because you don’t even need to make a sauce, just stir a couple ingredients together and you’re in business!
I first started using this hack of a chili sauce recipe in my Thai Broccoli Salad. And just like magic, chili sauce swoops in and coats the broccoli, transforming it into some sort of ridiculously addictive semblance of it’s original self! Anything that can turn veggies into magic is always a good thing, especially since broccoli used to require copious amounts of cheese sauce to catch my interest!
Part of my favorite thing about studying the flavors of other cultures, is it’s taught me that I can indeed enjoy my veggies without making them vaguely unhealthy! All the exotic spices and flavorings that used to be so difficult to find are becoming readily available, even here in Montana, making it so much easier to branch out and get creative!
For the onion in this recipe, I start by cutting off both ends and cutting it in half from the top to the bottom. Next lay each half flat side down on a cutting board, and slice across the rounded top creating half moon slices. If you’re feeling diligent you can take an extra moment to cut the core out as well.
For the carrots, I like to slice them on the bias (at a 45º angle) because they look nice, but the main idea is to keep them between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. If you cut them any thicker they tend to stay crisp during the stir frying process because the cooking time isn’t long enough for big pieces of veggies.
Tip: To get the most out of your broccoli, peel the tough outer layer away from the stem with a peeler. Then just slice up the stem like you would a carrot! I love the stem of broccoli because it’s a bit sweeter and milder in flavor.
Because zucchini cooks a bit faster than all the other vegetables, I throw it in near the end of the cooking time. I find the simplest way to slice up zucchini is to cut off both ends, and to cut them into quarters lengthwise. Then just slice across the quarters to create 1/4″ thick triangles.
One of the most important things with a stir fry is to keep the heat high to create that ‘wok seared’ flavor. If you cook at a lower heat, the veggies and meat will steam/fry instead of the searing effect that happens at high heat. Don’t get me wrong, the stir fry will still be good but the high heat is what really gives you that stir fry flavor we all know and love!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
- ¼ cup avocado oil, or olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced ¼" thick
- 2 small heads of broccoli
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced ¼" thick
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 small zucchini or 1 large
- 1 Teaspoon tapioca starch
- ¼ cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sambal oelek chili paste
- ¼ cup honey
- Start by prepping all parts of the stir fry before beginning to cook.
- Cut both ends off the onion, peel away the tough outer layer and slice in half from the top to the bottom. Lay each half flat side down and slice across the rounded top to create half moon slices.
- For the broccoli, peel the tough outer layer of the stem with a peeler and slice the stem into ¼" thick slices. When you reach the florets, break them apart into roughly ½" pieces.
- Cut both ends off the zucchini and quarter them lengthwise. Then slice across the quarters into ¼" thick triangular slices.
- For the chili sauce, mix together the tapioca starch and coconut aminos together in a bowl until the tapioca starch is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Mix in the chili paste and the honey, don't worry if the honey is clumpy, it will dissolve and mix in when you add the sauce to the pan.
- Heat a large 15" skillet over high heat. When the pan is almost smoking, add 2 Tablespoons of the avocado oil and sear the cubed chicken for about 2 minutes on each side to create a nicely browned exterior. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside, it will finish cooking completely at the end of the stir fry.
- Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan along with the onion, bell pepper, brocolli, carrots, and minced garlic.
- Sauté the veggies for about 4 minutes, or until they're just starting to soften. Add the zucchini and stir fry for an additional 2 minutes or until the zucchini begins to soften and all the veggies are crisp tender.
- Add the chicken back to the pan along with the chili sauce.
- Cook just until the chicken is cooked completely through and serve immediately.
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