Jun 23, 2017

Chicken Stir-Fry with a Secret Aromatic Weapon - Cilantro

Cilantro is truly a love and hate ingredient. To some people, cilantro is an irreplaceable aromatic that make a dish shine, especially in Asian countries. But to some, cilantro is nothing more than a soapy, scary tasting thing. Well, believe it or not, it has to do with genes. Some people's olfactory-receptor genes, OR6A2 specifically speaking, can pick up certain aldehyde chemicals. Aldehyde chemicals can be found in cilantro and some soap. And I guess soapy is not a welcomed aroma when presents in food.

Luckily I don't have such concerns and would love to just dive in cilantro paradise. However, if you just can't accept cilantro whatsoever, simply swap out cilantro with flat leaf parsley. The result will just be as aromatic, without the soapy taste. 

Chicken stir-fry with lots of cilantro -


  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 3 medium king oyster mushroom
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small can of kernel corn
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some white pepper powder
  • Few dashes fish sauce


Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Peel and cube the carrot. Cube the king oyster mushrooms. Cube the chicken. There is no need to marinate the chicken first, the cilantro will do most of the flavoring work. 

Finely chop the cilantro, it should loosely packed a small bowl. Drain the juice from canned kernel corn.

Drizzle enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat and add in chopped garlic along with salt and pepper. Mix a little and cook till aromatic but not burnt.

Add the chicken and cook till the meat is about half way cooked through.

Add in the carrot and mushroom, cook for a short moment then add in few dashes of fish sauce.

Add in drained kernel corn and cook till the corn warms up. Lastly, mix in chopped cilantro and some white pepper powder. Taste and see if need to pump up the saltiness by using extra fish sauce.

Plate and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Do not discard the cilantro steams. Use both the leaves and stems for maximum flavor boost. In fact, the texture of the stems actually works better in stir-fry dishes.

Other recipes where the aroma of cilantro shines:

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