The beauty of cooking is that if you learn the method, you can take any set of ingredients and transform them into a great dish without a specific recipe. Many nights, dinner is the result of choosing a method – in this case, stir fry – and the available ingredients that make the most sense together. Or, sometimes, I experiment.
I had some chicken breast meat and some fresh chickpeas. I knew those two ingredients would work together well. My usual m.o. is to add green onions, garlic and soy sauce. Easy, quick and a sure thing. But I wanted a twist tonight.
I had two blood oranges and wondered what would happen if I sliced them thinly and flash fried them. So I tested one slice and the pulp disintegrated and the rind charred – which is a waste of a blood orange. I decided to try charring the slices in a dry, hot wok to see what would happen.
Then I added the chickpeas, some green onions, a couple of cloves of smashed garlic.
I added some water and soy sauce to cook the chickpeas and create a sauce. I squeezed the juice from the second orange into the sauce and added some freshly cracked black pepper. I added the chicken and continued to stir fry. (I had sliced the chicken into slivers and then marinated with a dash of soy sauce, blood orange juice, crushed garlic, and a touch of corn starch. Then I oil blanched the chicken and set it aside while I cooked the chickpea mixture.)
I tasted the dish and decided that there wasn't enough orange flavor. So I added the juice another whole orange (I had one navel orange left, so I used that).
Tasting notes: I liked this dish. But if I were to make it again in order to write an actual recipe, I'd eliminate the sliced oranges and go straight to adding the juice to the sauce. Or, my initial instinct was to segment the oranges and add the flesh to the stir fry. That may have been the better call, especially since that would have featured the dramatic quality of the blood orange color. I also would have punched up the garlic. This would work with regular peas, snow peas, sugar snaps, pea vines, etc.
It was fun to play.