CHICKEN & ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY

Zucchini is a delicious vegetable but pretty tricky to stir-fry, as it can go mushy super quickly. Today I share a recipe that deals with this problem and results in a nice one-pot meal, flavorful and easy to put together. Just keep in mind you’ll need 30 minutes to draw the juices out of the zucchini slices, which is about the same time the chicken will need to marinate. Perfect timing!

ORIENTAL-STYLE CHICKEN AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

to marinate the meat:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch

for stir-fry:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 Serrano pepper, finely minced
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
salt to taste
roasted peanuts, about 1/3 cup
fresh cilantro leaves to serve

Prepare the zucchini by adding it to a large bowl and sprinkling the salt all over. Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Rinse briefly to remove the salt, dry the slices over paper towel. They are now ready to use.

Marinate the chicken by mixing sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl, and adding to the meat. Leave it for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Make the finishing sauce by mixing water, hoisin, soy, sesame oil and cornstarch. Reserve.

Heat the oil on a wok, add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a bowl, add more oil if needed, sauté the bell pepper and Serrano pepper for a couple of minutes, seasoning lightly with salt. Increase the heat to high, add the zucchini slices, move them around for 10 seconds or so, add the chicken back, stir fry everything together for a minute. Add the finishing sauce, and heat it all together until it thickens slightly. Add peanuts, cilantro, and serve over steamed white rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I really like the fact that marinating the meat and prepping the zucchini takes the same amount of time. Once that is out of the way, dinner will be ready in minutes, and all textures will be perfect. The zucchini cooks so quickly that you can also add it together with the finishing sauce and just heat it for a few minutes until it all thickens, making it even simpler. If you like more heat, add Sriracha or any other type of chili oil. Of course, for most people garlic and onion sauté with the bell peppers will be great too. As I always say, your kitchen, your rules… But definitely give this a try, you will not look at zucchini stir-fry the same way…

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CARROTS AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE

Five days without our faithful goofy companion. I want to thank for all the comments in my previous post. I read each one, but cannot bring myself to answer them. Please consider yourself hugged.

This key to this recipe is slicing the carrots in ribbons, which is a bit of a labor of love, but worth it. Couple that with spiralized zucchini, and you’ll hit a jackpot. If you do not have a spiralizer, slice the zucchini very thinly and that will do. It is surprisingly hearty, and would be a great vegetarian meal if you add perhaps some farro and a slice of bread.

CARROT AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
(inspired by many sources)

3 carrots, sliced in ribbons (with a large veggie peeler)
2 large zucchini, spiralized fine
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
grated ginger to taste
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper

for the sauce:
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp or more Sriracha sauce
drizzle of agave nectar
juice of 1/2 lemon
water to adjust consistency

Heat the oil in a non-stick large wok. Sautee the ginger and the shallot until fragrant. Add the veggies, stir-fry for a couple of minutes in high heat. Drizzle the sauce, you might not need the full amount, so that the veggies are not drenched. Cook for a couple of minutes more, stirring constantly to distribute the thick sauce well into the veggies.

Add the peanuts, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to make a bigger amount, you might have to stir-fry the veggies in two batches, then join them and finish with the sauce. As I mentioned, slicing the carrots is not the most enjoyable activity in the world, but it is a game changer. Just incorporate the Zen and go for it. The sauce is pretty delicious and would be awesome added on top of grilled pork tenderloin, which I intend to do soon.

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TORTA DI ZUCCHINI, A FLASHBACK

This is a recipe I used to make all the time and for some odd reason disappeared from our menu. The other day I was searching the blog for ideas, and fell on this post from twelve years ago! I made it twice, two in a row, and tweaked it slightly. This is a lower-carb version, and if you skip the breadcrumbs on the topping it can also be gluten-free.

LOW-CARB TORTA DI ZUCCHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 zucchini, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup almond flour plus more to sprinkle on plate
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
topping: 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 1/8 cup Parmigiano cheese
drizzle of olive oil

Grease a pyrex pie dish with butter. Sprinkle some bread crumbs or almond flour to coat.

Mix the beaten eggs with the lemon zest, herbs, Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 cup of almond flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, place the grated and sliced zucchini. Shake the dish carefully to distribute the slices more or less evenly. Add the egg mixture to it, mix gently, and pour into the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the remaining mixture of bread crumbs (or you can use almond flour) and cheese on top, forming a very light coating. You may not need to use it all. Drizzle a bit of olive oil.

Bake in a 375F until set and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is the type of recipe that makes the cook a bit nervous. As you put it together, it seems impossible to work. But trust me, it does. Normally recipes using zucchini tell you to squeeze the liquid, but this one does not. The mixture of grated zucchini with the slices is what makes the whole texture perfect. Think about a baked frittata, but without that intense eggy flavor that some people object to. I used almond flour in place of bread crumbs in the body of the recipe, but added some bread crumbs to the topping. You can just use almond flour instead for an even lower in carb concoction.

It is very important to let the torta rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. I actually like to leave it for about half an hour and enjoy it barely warm. That’s when everything sets nicely. I don’t know why this delicious side dish left our rotation, but it is so simple and so tasty, I felt it was worth re-blogging, with the minor modifications I introduced in this version. I hope you give it a try… Next on my plans? To make a mixture of carrots and zucchini. Stay tuned!

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ZUCCHINI WITH QUICK-PICKLED VEGETABLES AND PEANUT SAUCE

Once again I am following the steps of Joanne. Once again my pictures won’t do justice to how delicious this meal turned out. The peanut sauce is perfectly balanced: salty, sweet, spicy, you will feel like going at it with a spoon, eyes-closed, total bliss.

ZUCCHINI WITH QUICK-PICKLED VEGETABLES IN PEANUT SAUCE
(slightly adapted from Joanne’s blog)

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch coins
black pepper, to taste
salt to taste
olive oil to lightly coat it (if using air-fryer)

For the quick-pickled veggies
5 oz shredded carrots
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar

For the peanut sauce
6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sambal oelek

Pickle the veggies: In a medium bowl, toss together the carrots, cucumber, lime juice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Set aside as you prepare the sauce and cook the zucchini.

If using an air-fryer, coat the zucchini with olive oil (you can use a spray can), season lightly with salt and pepper, and air-fry at the highest temperature until done (10 to 12 minutes). Reserve. If using a frying pan, add enough oil for a shallow fry, and cook the zucchini on both sides until golden.

Make the peanut sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, maple syrup, sweet chili sauce, and sambal oelek until well combined.

Serve everything over rice, with a nice drizzle of the peanut sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You see that plastic bottle with leftover sauce? You will become very fond of it, and start squeezing it on plenty of stuff. Including your fingers, when no one is around to be a witness.

Truly delicious recipe, you can make it as Joanne did, with crispy tofu. I skipped that and confess that we enjoyed it with one of our favorite proteins, grilled pork tenderloin. But it would be perfect for a vegetarian meal without it. Ground peanuts wold be perfect on top, and that’s what I plan to do in the very near future.

Joanne, I need to thank you once again for bringing so many cool recipes into my horizon…
we loved this one!

THAI-STYLE TURKEY & ZUCCHINI MEATBALLS WITH SPICY GLAZE

We arrive at mid-November and I must tell you that this simple recipe goes into the top 10 of this crazy year. For sure. I used the air-fryer, but it can be made in a regular oven adjusting time and temperature as I mention in the recipe. It was simple to put together, short list of ingredients, great flavor.

THAI-STYLE TURKEY & ZUCCHINI MEATBALLS WITH SPICY GLAZE
(from The Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by several sources)

for the glaze:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
50g granulated sugar (about 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (optional, but advisable)
1 tbsp sambal oelek
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

for the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat preferred)
1 cup zucchini, grated and squeezed as dry as possible
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten

Make the glaze. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce to a non-stick pan. Heat while stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for about 3 minutes in medium-low heat. Add the sambal oelek, mix stirring gently until the sauce starts to thicken (about 3 minutes).

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water, add to the sauce. Simmer, constantly stirring for another couple of minutes. The sauce will thicken quite quickly. Remove from heat, pour into a small bottle or bowl, cool and refrigerate until needed.

Make the meatballs. Combine the zucchini, ginger, cilantro, lime zest, salt, pepper, ground turkey and almond flour and mix them well with your hands. Add the beaten egg and gently finish incorporating it all. Mixture will be a bit loose. Shape as 12 golf-sized balls. Place over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. If they seem too fragile to move around, stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes, it will not affect their roasting, maybe require just a couple of extra minutes.

Heat the air fryer to 390°F, and keep your regular oven at around 300F to keep the meatballs warm as you finish them. If not using an air-fryer, set your oven to 400F to roast the meatballs.

In the air-fryer, they will be ready in about 12 minutes, flip them over mid-way through. In a regular oven they will take 20 to 25 minutes.

As soon as the meatballs are finished cooking, coat them with the spicy glaze. If preparing them in batches, keep the first batch in a 300F oven as you cook the second batch. Serve with your favorite side dish, steamed rice and/or vegetables.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The glaze is the same kind used to dip Spring rolls made with rice paper. You can conceivably buy it ready in the grocery store, but making it from scratch is easy and the pay off is huge. If you like it really hot, add a touch of cayenne. For us, it was the perfect level of heat. Sambal oelek is a wonderful ingredient to keep in the fridge.

As to the zucchini, better avoid using a food processor to shred it. There is something about the size and texture of grating by hand that makes it perfect to combine with the meat. The only variable to keep in mind is the amount of water retained in the zucchini. Squeeze as much as you can, but consider increasing the amount of almond flour to have a consistency that allows you to form the meatballs. Use your intuition.

The meatballs can be formed in small size and served as appetizer with small lettuce leaves to grab them. We enjoyed them as a regular main dish, with white rice and sugar peas made in 5 minutes. Those must go into a future Incredibly Easy post. Stay tuned!

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