Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Singapore-Style [Chicken] with Chinese Celery

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

This recipe was picked for the upcoming Chinese New Year. The actual recipe is made with duck, however, I had to substitute chicken for this one.

According to Grace: "Celery is popular to eat for the lunar new year. The belief is that eating celery has positive meaning, because the word for celery in Cantonese, kun choi, is a homonym for diligence." I also read that duck symbolizes fertility - good thing I'm past that stage in my life, being I had to substitute chicken.

To read more on traditions during the Chinese New Year, see Grace's posts, Chinse New Year Traditions and Gifts for the Gods: Food for the Chinese New Year.

As you can see, Chinese celery is very similar to American celery. The difference is the stalks are a lot thinner, and the flavor is more pronounced; unlike Western celery, it is vary rarely, if at all, eaten raw, for it is not as tender.  Personally, I enjoyed it raw, more-so than our celery.

 The Kitchen God, with offerings of wine and fruit (blood orange), overseeing my mise en place. 

Bowl 1: Five-spice tofu
Bowl 2: Ginger, shallot, Thai red pepper (my addition)
Bowl 3: Salted soy beans
Bowl 4: Chicken, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil, rice wine, salt, pepper, five-spice powder, sugar
Bowl 5: Chinese celery, Anaheim chilies
Bowl 6: Chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine

The Kitchen God, overseeing the soon-to-be stir-frying (I hope he is not too tipsy from the wine). 

I ended up using chicken in place of the duck, for the duck I had in the freezer was unfortunately freezer-burned, and my meat market only had frozen available. I can only imagine what the "wild" taste of duck would impart on this stir-fry; the chicken made a fine substitute, but missing that "gamey" flavor of duck.

The recipe calls for Anaheim peppers, which I'm sure is what I used (no sign stating what they were), but they did not have any heat to them, so I added four small, dried Thai red peppers with the ends snipped; the amount of heat was spot on.

You can't go wrong when a recipe calls for Chinese five-spice powder - amazing flavor. However, do read the labels! The ingredients vary between brands; my friend Karen, of Karen's Kitchen Stories mentioned hers had six ingredients!! Check out a previous post here for a list of different brands and their ingredients.

The recipe states this will serve two to three as a main dish with rice. I forgot to make rice, and too bad too, for it had a fair amount of sauce; even without the rice, this stir-fry was quite filling!

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 131, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


  1. Looks delicious! Next time I try this dish I am going to make it with chicken. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hi Cathleen, I have one of Grace's cookbooks and I really enjoy it, love cooking in a wok. Looks delicious!

  3. This looks so delicious - but no garlic? I am thrilled (being allergic) but just assumed this would have it! Looks like it's time to hit LeeLee Market!


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