Rainbow Chicken Stir Fry (彩虹鸡炒)

Learn how to make this juicy, colorful, and healthy concoction of chicken and vegetables!

Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Rainbow Chicken Stir Fry used to be a staple at my parents' Chinese restaurant back in the day. It's a perfect balance of visual appeal, juicy taste, and healthy ingredients.

There are a ton of variations on this dish. You can swap out the meat or any of the vegetables to your liking (more on that below).

Read on to learn my dad's secrets!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
  • 10 oz chicken breast
  • 0.50 red bell peppers
  • 0.50 green bell peppers
  • 0.50 carrots
  • 0.50 onions
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 10 baby corns
  • 1 tsp ginger (

    chopped into thin slices

    )
  • 1 tsp garlic (

    minced

    )
  • Chicken Marinade
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 0.50 tbsp chicken powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Vegetable Flavors
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Other
  • 0.50 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp oil, for cooking chicken
  • 1.5 tbsp oil, for cooking vegetables

Cornstarch is key

My dad uses cornstarch in almost everything he makes. In this particular dish, cornstarch (mixed with water) helps thicken the consistency of the sauces.

It also acts as a "glue", binding the flavorful sauces and spices to the chicken & veggies.

Selecting vegetables

This dish is fairly flexible in terms of what types of veggies you can use. You can't go wrong with the veggies my parents went with.

The main thing to keep in mind is to select veggies that don't expel a lot of water when cooking.

According to my dad, to truly master this dish, you shouldn't have any water pooled at the bottom of your plate or wok after everything has been cooked.

Safe substitutes or additions: mushrooms, broccoli
Some veggies to avoid: bok choy, gailan

My parents list off what to try and what to avoid here:

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard to find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most of what my dad uses can be found on Amazon:

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

In a mixing bowl, add salt (0.50 tsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), light soy sauce (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tsp), cooking wine (1 tsp), chicken powder (0.50 tbsp), cornstarch (1 tsp), and water (2 tbsp). Give it a nice stir until it's an even consistency.

Then, cut your chicken (10 oz) into thin slices. My dad prefers making diagonal cuts. Be sure to trim the fatty pieces away.

Now, marinade your chicken by repeating this 3 step process:

  • Mixing the chicken around in the bowl
  • Gather the chicken into a clump with your hands
  • Squeeze hard so that the marinade absorbs more efficiently.

Do this for about 2-3 minutes. There should be hardly any residual juices in the plate by the end.

Time to prepare the rainbow!

With your favorite knife and cutting board, cut red bell pepper (0.50), green bell pepper (0.50), carrot (0.50), onion (0.50), celery stalks (2).

We'll also be adding baby corn (10), chopping thin slices of ginger (1 tsp) and mincing garlic (1 tsp).

Make a mental note for later that you'll be using half of your garlic & ginger to cook the chicken, and the other half to cook the vegetables.

Set the stove to high heat. Then, with a small mixing bowl or cup, mix cornstarch (0.50 tbsp) and water (3 tbsp).

You'll be saving this for the very end.

Once your wok is hot enough, add oil (3 tbsp), and half of the ginger and garlic you prepared previously.

Let the ginger and garlic cook for about 1 minute, releasing their aromas.

Take your chicken that's been peacefully soaking and marinading in flavorful goodness, and throw it into the wok. Stir and flip the chicken periodically until the pieces turn white.

We don't need to cook the chicken to completion during this step, since we'll be cooking it again later.

Once the chicken is done, put it back into a bowl for later.

Pro tip: if you want to clean one less bowl, you can use the same bowl you marinaded with.

Before cooking the vegetables, add oil (1.5 tbsp) (less than we used for the chicken), and the remainder of the ginger and garlic into the wok.

Let this heat up and cook for about a minute.

Now, add the rainbow of vegetables into the wok, stirring and tossing constantly.

After stirring the vegetables for about a minute or two, add cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), and oyster sauce (1 tbsp) into the wok. Continue stirring.

Add the chicken back into the wok, along with a bit of water (2 tbsp) to help generate some steam for the ingredients to cook.

Cover the wok.

My dad refuses to use timers or any sort of precise measurements when he cooks, and says this step takes 2 minutes. In practice, it took about 3 minutes for the wok to start boiling again.

The all-important step: pour the cornstarch mix (cornstarch (0.50 tbsp) & water (3 tbsp)) from earlier into the wok. This helps tie all of the flavors together, almost literally.

Stir the wok around several times.

The cornstarch acts as an agent that thickens the sauce and binds the diverse flavors in the dish to the vegetables and chicken.

By themselves, most vegetables taste pretty bland. This counteracts that.

Winner winner, chicken dinner! It's done.

Transfer the rainbow chicken stir fry into your favorite plate or bowl.

Summary

Rainbow Chicken Stir Fry (彩虹鸡炒)
Learn how to make this juicy, colorful, and healthy concoction of chicken and vegetables!
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • 10 oz chicken breast
  • 0.50 red bell peppers
  • 0.50 green bell peppers
  • 0.50 carrots
  • 0.50 onions
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 10 baby corns
  • 1 tsp ginger (

    chopped into thin slices

    )
  • 1 tsp garlic (

    minced

    )
  • Chicken Marinade
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 0.50 tbsp chicken powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Vegetable Flavors
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 0.50 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Other
  • 0.50 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp oil, for cooking chicken
  • 1.5 tbsp oil, for cooking vegetables
Step 1 - Prepare chicken & marinade↑ Jump to details

In a mixing bowl, stir salt (0.50 tsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), light soy sauce (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tsp), cooking wine (1 tsp), chicken powder (0.50 tbsp), cornstarch (1 tsp), and water (2 tbsp). Cut your chicken (10 oz) into thin slices with diagonal cuts. Marinade the chicken by repeatedly mixing it around, gathering it into a clump, and squeezing hard. Do this for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2 - Prepare vegetables↑ Jump to details

Cut red bell pepper (0.50), green bell pepper (0.50), carrot (0.50), onion (0.50), celery stalks (2). Add baby corn (10) to the collection, and chop thin slices of ginger (1 tsp) and mince garlic (1 tsp).

Step 3 - Heat stove, create another cornstarch mix↑ Jump to details

Set the stove to high heat. With a small mixing bowl or cup, mix cornstarch (0.50 tbsp) and water (3 tbsp).

Step 4 - Partially cook chicken↑ Jump to details

Once the wok is hot, add oil (3 tbsp), and half of the ginger and garlic you prepared previously. Let the ginger and garlic cook for about 1 minute, releasing their aromas. Throw the chicken into the wok. Stir and flip the chicken periodically until the pieces turn white. Remove the chicken from wok when done.

Step 5 - Cook vegetables↑ Jump to details

Before cooking the vegetables, add oil (1.5 tbsp) (less than we used for the chicken), and the remainder of the ginger and garlic into the wok. Let this heat up and cook for about a minute. Then, add the rainbow of vegetables into the wok, stirring and tossing constantly.

Step 6 - Add flavors↑ Jump to details

After stirring the vegetables for 1-2 minutes, add cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (0.50 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), and oyster sauce (1 tbsp) into the wok. Continue stirring.

Step 7 - Add chicken & water before covering wok↑ Jump to details

Add the chicken back into the wok, along with a bit of water (2 tbsp) to help generate some steam for the ingredients to cook. Cover the wok for about 2-3 minutes, until boiling.

Step 8 - Add final cornstarch mix↑ Jump to details

Pour the cornstarch mix (cornstarch (0.50 tbsp) & water (3 tbsp)) from earlier into the wok. Stir the wok around several times.

Step 9 - Serve immediately↑ Jump to details

Transfer the rainbow chicken stir fry into your favorite plate or bowl.

Step 10 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 11 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

My sister and I have many, many happy memories enjoying this dish growing up (and obliviously bothering my parents' customers as we roamed around their restaurant as kids).

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

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About Made With Lau

We started Made With Lau to honor and share the legacy of our wonderful parents, Jenny and Chung Sun Lau.

Our hope is that these posts give you (and our future generations) a glimpse into how great they are!