Unlike in gluey takeout versions of stir-fry, the sauce here is perfectly balanced and light. The Chinese technique of velveting keeps the chicken succulent and tender, and prepping the stir-fry ingredients while the chicken marinates makes this dish fast—maybe even faster than delivery.
What to buy: Although hoisin means “seafood” in Cantonese, there’s actually no seafood in hoisin sauce. This thick, sweet condiment is made from sugar, soybeans, garlic, sesame seeds, chiles, and spices. Look for it in the ethnic aisle at most grocery stores or in Asian markets.
Special equipment: If you don’t have a wok, Grace Young suggests a large frying pan as a good substitute, but don’t use a nonstick pan because the high heat may damage it.
- 1Cut each chicken breast half in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place in a medium bowl and add the egg white, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine or sherry, water, and salt and stir until the cornstarch has totally dissolved. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes.
- 2Fill a large saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the oil and reduce the heat to low. When the water is barely simmering, add the marinated chicken, gently stirring so that the pieces do not clump together. Cook until the chicken is just opaque but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, shaking the colander to remove any excess water; set aside.
For the stir-fry:
- 1Place the hoisin sauce, Shaoxing wine or sherry, and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
- 2Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes when dropped in the pan. Add the oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the bell pepper and salt and stir-fry until just beginning to warm through, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved chicken, bamboo shoots, and reserved hoisin mixture and stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice.