Stir-Fried Cilantro Chicken

Cilantro Chicken

This simple stir-fry gets a lot of flavor from a few ingredients that are typically on sale during the summer months. The heat level can be dialed up or down to suit your tastes; although people who (unfortunately) think cilantro tastes like soap should probably steer clear!


  • 1 cup enriched long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs (or firm tofu)
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeños*
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2″ fresh ginger, finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 bunch cilantro

You can also use ~1/4 cup jarred jalapeños if fresh peppers aren’t available and/or you want to opt for milder peppers.


To prepare: slice carrots diagonally – or on the bias – and set aside. Deseed and dice jalapeños and set aside. Cut chicken or tofu into 1″ cubes and set aside. Clean your workstation and your hands, being careful not to touch your face/eyes.

Combine the 1 cup rice with 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small (2-quart) saucepan. Place a lid on the pan and put the pan on a burner set to medium-high heat.

Once you have the rice on the stove, heat the oil in a large wok or skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to shimmer – but not so hot that it smokes – add the carrots and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned but still firm.

While you are searing the carrots, the rice should come to a boil. Once it does, turn it to low and set a timer for 15 minutes.

Push the carrots to the edge of the pan and add the chicken thighs (or tofu), jalapeños, garlic, onion powder, and ginger to the middle of the pan. Let the chicken (or tofu) sear slightly for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to move the seasonings around a bit. Then, turn the stir fry mix down to medium, add the Teriyaki sauce, and stir to coat. Let the stir-fry simmer to bring the flavors together as the rice finishes cooking.

Once the rice is done, keep the lid on and remove it from the heat so it can sit, undisturbed, for 3-5 minutes. During this time, chop the cilantro leaves and stems roughly and add to the stir-fry pan. The dish will be ready once the rice has rested, the chicken has cooked through, and the cilantro has wilted. Serve the stir-fry over heaping spoonfuls of rice in a large plate or bowl.

Note: this recipe typically feeds two very hungry adults, but could easily be stretched to feed 3 or 4 people with additional rice, carrots, etc.



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