Paleo Gingery Stir-Fried Chicken with Asparagus and Bell Pepper
Why This Recipe Works
We wanted to explore the possibilities of paleo stir-fries and develop a chicken version with a punchy, spicy profile. First, we built our sauce. We made a base out of coconut aminos, a common paleo replacement for soy sauce; rice vinegar for tanginess; and chicken broth to round out the flavor. To ensure the sauce thickened enough to coat the chicken and vegetables, we swapped out the traditional cornstarch for paleo-friendly tapioca flour. But in early tastings, tasters thought the sauce lacked the depth that soy sauce–based stir-fry sauces usually have. Adding a bit of fish sauce easily solved this problem, providing savory notes without giving itself away. Next, we turned to the chicken. To ensure that the lean meat stayed tender through cooking, we coated it in a mixture of coconut aminos, tapioca flour, and sesame oil, which both gave the chicken a boost of flavor and created a barrier against the high heat. For the vegetables, we started with bok choy, but found its flavor and texture in the finished stir-fry lackluster. We turned instead to asparagus, which provided a welcome crisp texture and grassy flavor. Bell peppers offered a pop of color and a welcome sweetness. To give our stir-fry a distinctive backbone, we stirred in a whopping 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger toward the end of cooking. Although tasters liked the flavors of the stir-fry, they felt it needed an additional textural element. Cashews fit the bill perfectly; just 1/2 cup of the toasted and chopped nuts contributed a pleasant crunchy element and a nutty, buttery flavor.