All Mixed Up


It’s not the recipe’s fault, though. When it names the ingredients to accompany mango and chicken in the wok, it lists nothing more specific than “fresh stir-fry vegetables.” Therefore, the decision is each cook’s, and there’s no telling where personal tastes will take things. For example, today’s offering brings carrots, bell peppers bean sprouts and asparagus.

Delicious as that combination is, the mango is the main attraction here. Just look at that beautifully vibrant color. Then you have the fruit’s bright sweetness, balancing subtly peppery notes at the end. Then, within the stir-fry’s broader medley, the mango ties together all the other tastes and textures, from the chicken’s velvety juiciness, to the sprouts’ crunchiness and the asparagus’s yielding crispness.

Those colors, and that promise, jumped off the page when Fine Cooking included a recipe for Mango-Chicken Stir-Fry. Come on. Can anything including the collection below be anything less than a delicious celebration?

Oh, that’s right, there are a couple oranges too. If ever there were a time for citrus and its glorious sunniness, it’s now, as winter looms. Just when the orb seems to sink beyond the horizon, here comes fruit bursting with the sweet cheerfulness it built up all summer. Thus begins citrus’s season, generously supplying the happiness that’ll last through spring. Two oranges’ worth of juice goes into the wok, lighting each face with a bright smile.

In fact, today’s offering inspires fond memories of the garden bounty harvested until recent days, and it inspires hope with the mangoes’ and the oranges’ enthusiasm. Shining beacons of better times that’ll be here soon enough. Draw on that sunny optimism. A few months of delightful coziness will see the invigorating thaw back on the doorstep. The days, steadily lengthening, will bring greenness with them.

A reminder too of better times returning soon enough. Here’s a glimpse of this summer’s bell peppers, just maturing to deep red:

A combination, really, that defines Mango-Chicken Stir-Fry too. Choose whatever veggies strike the fancy and which inspire the eye. With oranges and mangoes already stoking a cheerful glow, a bouncy melody is all that’s needed to get the party started. The individual ingredients may be all mixed up, but the spirits are invigorated with crystal clarity. First in amazement, then in exuberance.

*****

Of course, a mango-forward design would help celebrate today’s meal. Spoonflower endeavors to provide, naturally, and offers Mangopatiem, which Olga Aleksandrova created.

*****

Mango-Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 1 cup orange juice (*1)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (*2)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups precut fresh stir-fry vegetables (*3)
  • 2 cups cubed fresh mango
  • 1-and-1/2 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • 3 tablespoons roughly-chopped cashews, for serving

For the sauce, in a small bowl combine the orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, five-spice powder, and crushed red pepper.

In a medium bowl toss together the meat and the cornstarch. Place a wok or a large skillet over a medium-high flame. Pour in the oil. When it shimmers, add the meat and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. (*4)

Add the vegetables; cook and stir constantly for another minute. Add the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Stir in the mango gently. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cashews.

NOTES:

1 – This likely works out to a little under two oranges. Unless, of course, you find large and magnificently laden citrus. In which case, lucky you. That day, though it’s coming, probably is yet to be.

2 – Want some advice? Well, you’ll get some anyway. Go instead for boneless, skinless thighs. Adequately trimmed, they’re nearly as lean as are breasts, but they pack in so much more flavor. Juicier too.

3 – You may recall from the intro, today’s collection includes asparagus, red pepper, bean sprouts and carrots. Among other possible add-ons are broccoli florets, green peppers, scallions, water chestnuts, or baby corn. The list goes on from there. The only limit is your creativity, which, as we both know, is torrential.

4 – I always remember (and heed) Martin Yan’s instruction – “It’s not stare-fry, it’s stir fry!”

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6 thoughts on “All Mixed Up

  1. I never tried the combination of mango and stir fry vegetables. It sounds compelling! I don’t buy mangoes often because they usually carry a high price tag, but your delicious recipe might qualify the purchase of mangoes as a “needful thing”. 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much appreciated, Tamara! If you go all in on a mango you’ll be glad you did, I expect.

      As you may be aware, mangoes have something of a learning curve. In little time, you’ll teach yourself how to extract the good part, but that’s just it – the process likely will take two or three attempts.

      A good option, though hardly an economical one, is to buy the mango already extracted and cubed and frozen. This probably will cost between $5 and $6, depending on the local market. Maybe not something to consider if pricing is your foremost concern, but it will save you some trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well then, my friend, you have a marker in the game already.

        Obviously, fresh is unparalleled, but commercial freezing has advanced smartly over the past seventy years. Nowadays, and in most (but certainly not in all) cases, the freezer aisles compete with the produce department. A real boon for the home cook, particularly in the off-season, or when convenience is the foremost requirement.

        Liked by 1 person

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