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Stir it up: Teriyaki chicken stir-fry

Updated: May 29, 2020

Try out these delicious go-to stir-fry recipes for when you’re out of inspiration and you’ve got a fridge full of veggies.

Stir-fry's are one of the best ways to use up leftover food in the fridge. They’re very flexible and adaptable, taking on all kinds of ingredients. Here are two stir-fry’s that can be made in 30 minutes and gets rid of those end-of-life veggies and leftovers. Investing in a wok makes stir-fry’s tastier and crispy as it can get hot enough to evaporate water from the vegetables, unlike a frying pan.

Teriyaki chicken stir-fry

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

While this recipe includes the recipe for teriyaki chicken, it would also be a great way to use up leftovers from a roast or last night’s chicken dinner. Heat up the chicken in the microwave to prevent it drying out, then add it to the wok at the end with the teriyaki sauce ingredients, and add the garlic and ginger in after the onion instead.

To make this recipe vegetarian, replace chicken with tofu or eggplant. For the tofu: toss cubes of firm tofu in cornflour and sizzle in a shallow fry-pan with oil until lightly browned. For the eggplant: grill 1 cm slices eggplant until soft and cooked through.

Teriyaki chicken

800 g free-range chicken thigh or breast, skinless and boneless, cut into 5 cm chunks

1 tbsp oil (sesame, canola, rice bran or sunflower oil)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

Teriyaki sauce

1 tsp cornflour

10 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp runny honey (heat firm honey in the microwave for a few seconds until runny)

2 tbsp vinegar (white wine or rice wine)

½ tsp dried chilli flakes


(quantities of ingredients can be adjusted as you please)

2 cups jasmine rice / short-grain sushi rice

1 tbsp oil (sesame, canola, rice bran or sunflower oil)

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly (could be substituted for 1-2 celery stalks, finely chopped)

1 onion, sliced

6-12 mushrooms (Swiss brown or white button), sliced

1-2 capsicums

Large handful green beans (could be substituted for ½ a broccoli or cauliflower, florets cut in half)


1. Rinse and drain 2 cups of rice into a medium saucepan and add 3 cups of water (ratio of rice to water is 1:1.5 so adjust as needed). Bring to a boil with the lid on, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes. (To check if the rice is done, use a spoon to gently see if there is any water left at the bottom. If it’s dry - it’s done!).

2. Mix teriyaki sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Begin by gradually adding soy sauce to the cornflour and whisk until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and whisk until combined.

3. Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan on a medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken and cook on all sides: if using chicken breast, cook for about 5 minutes; if thigh, cook for about 10 minutes. Check the chicken by cutting in half to ensure meat is cooked through (white in the middle, not pink).

4. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes until softened, stirring so they don’t burn on the bottom.

5. Add the teriyaki sauce and cook for about 5 minutes until everything is well coated and thickened. Set aside in a separate dish.

6. In the same wok or pan, heat 1 tbsp oil until hot. Add fennel, onion and capsicum and cook for 3 minutes or until onion softens, stirring occasionally (allow them to slightly char). Add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Add green beans and place a large lid over the vegetables to steam the beans. Leave for 3 minutes. Test one of the beans, and, if it is not cooked, let steam for a few more minutes. They should still be crispy but not raw.

7. Add teriyaki chicken and sauce to the pan to coat the vegetables. Use two forks to break the chicken into smaller pieces.

8. Serve with rice.

*If adding other vegetables, prepare them like this:

  • Cabbage - a small bowl full: tear off layer by layer and chop each layer roughly into large 5 cm pieces. Add with the mushrooms.

  • Green beans - use a handful: tail, then cut in half on the diagonal. Add with the carrot and onion and cover with a lid to steam and char for a few minutes.

  • Broccoli & cauliflower - use half: chop florets in half and boil in a saucepan of hot water for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. Add with the mushrooms.

  • Corn - 1-2 cobs fresh corn or ½ cup frozen: can use last night’s corn on the cob (cut off the cob with a serrated knife) or frozen corn from the freezer if short on vegetables. Toss in with the carrot and onion and allow to slightly char.

  • Capsicum - 1-2: chop into quarters, then 3 cm pieces. Add with the carrot and onion and allow to slightly char.

Lena is studying an honours degree at AUT. Her research is comparing behavioural differences of Nemo fish in captivity and the wild. As a part time job, she teaches at the university. One of her favourite pastimes is to banter about current environmental issues. However, this tends to be only with people who agree, so it’s generally one-sided.

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