Garlic Ginger Stir Fry with Chicken, Pak Choi, Red Cabbage & Japonica Rice

Bright green, purple and orange means you're getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

Bright green, purple and orange means you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

I know right now you are busy getting ready for Thanksgiving so the last thing you are thinking about is healthy dinners you can make – but I’m guessing, the week after Thanksgiving you may feel differently! Bookmark this page so when you can’t eat another tablespoon of gravy or cranberry sauce you have something lighter you can rely on. Also, today is the last day to register for the 1st round of the 12 Day Natural Detox starting December 1st, so click here if you want in!  Another round starts December 13th and you can register for that one until December 6th. Anyway, back to stir fry!

Do you find you avoid making stir fry ever because you feel like you need store a bought sauce to pull off anything tasty?  I used to feel that way too but I finally started playing around with making my own because – well #1 it’s better for you and #2 stir fry is such an easy meal, I want to be able to make it anytime I want! If you keep a few simple ingredients on hand (like tamari, fish sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, broth, ginger, garlic, sherry and rice vinegar) you can make some really delicious food very simply!  You may find you need to add a little brown sugar to make a sauce stand out if you’re used to sweet store bought sauce – and that’s ok – but I urge you to see what you can accomplish without sugar first.  Cook and taste it.  If it still needs sugar add a tiny sprinkle.  I left sugar out of this recipe because I don’t really feel like it needs it, but I think I’m accustomed to a lower sugar diet more than others are.  Adding sriracha or cooking sherry is another way you can brighten the flavors here.  Experiment!

This gets most of it’s flavor from the generous amount of garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric in it.  They add a spicy, earthy flavor and are so good for us!

I used black japonica rice here because I love it! It has a sweet nutty flavor to it and it takes the same amount of time to cook as brown or wild rice.  It’s nice to have some variety.  One of the great benefits of trying different things is the range of nutrients you can get in your diet that way.  Black japonica rice gets it rich color from a type of flavonoids called anthocyanins (red cabbage, cranberries and cherries do too!) which are known for providing many health benefits – they show promise for protection from atherosclerosis, inhibition of tumor cells and preventing inflammation.  How do make sure you’re getting enough anthocyanins and other antioxidants in your diet? By making sure you eat a rainbow of color every day. This stir fry is a vibrant green (pak choi), purple (rice and cabbage) and orange (turmeric) – making it an awesome option for someone trying to increase the amount of color in their diet.

Ingredients
1 lb organic chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite size pieces
2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled, finely diced or grated
2 inch chunk of fresh turmeric, washed, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp low sodium tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp five spice powder
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 medium sized baby pak choi roughly chopped (bok choy works too)
1/2 large red cabbage, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup black japonica rice, cooked

Makes 4 servings

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

Directions
Marinate the chicken in the tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, five spice powder, turmeric, ginger and garlic while you prepare your vegetables.  Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp coconut oil.  When the oil is melted and the pan is hot, saute the celery, onion, pak choi and red cabbage and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.  You may need to do this in batches so that the vegetables don’t steam – you want them to cook quickly and for a short period of time.   When the vegetables are slightly tender, remove them from the pan, place in a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.  Put the pan back on the burner and add the marinating chicken mixture.  Cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce thickens a little.  Serve the black japonica rice topped with the vegetable mixture and then topped with the chicken mixture.

This doesn’t make a lot of sauce but I think you’ll find when you use fresh vegetables and fresh aromatic ingredients to cook with that you won’t need as much! Having extra tamari on hand is good for those who need a little extra flavor on their plate.  I also like to keep homemade sriracha on hand or buy a brand that doesn’t have a bunch of preservatives in it (whole foods has a few options) because I love the spicy stuff for meals like this!
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