PARENTS

Rainbow Hoi Sin Chicken Stir Fry

10/09/2014 00:26 | Updated 20 May 2015

Rainbow Hoi Sin Chicken Stir Fry

With the kids back at school after the summer holidays, the Government is on a mission to provide healthy - free - meals to thousands of pupils.

Let's hope our under-resourced schools are able to deliver on these good intentions - a mission that one nine-year-old schoolboy called Rohan questioned live on radio this week.

He called Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's LBC show and asked: "I was wondering why you decided to introduce free school meals, which is a very expensive product when at my school they're quite unhealthy and the evidence shows that the don't make children behave or achieve better."

Mr Clegg responded by saying the Government did have evidence for the beneficial effects of universal school meals on children's health and ability to learn.

It's a hot potato that won't be cooling down for quite some time.

But we parents shouldn't need to rely on the State to provide our children's entire nutritional needs: it's down to us, their mums and dads, to fill our children up with the good stuff.

Of course, that can be easier said than done if you have a fussy eater in the family, but the way we counter that in our home is to get the children involved, and give them lots of crunch and colour to whet their appetites.

And this Rainbow Stir-Fry hits the spot every time.

You can use any vegetables you like as long as they are crunchy and, yes, colourful.

I used carrots, red and yellow peppers, and courgettes, all cut into batons, then stir-fried with 'velveted' chicken breast strips and Chinese Hoi Sin sauce.

Serve with rice or you could use pitta pockets instead.

Serves 3-4 children

2 chicken breasts, skinless, cut into strips

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (aka Shaosing)

2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons

1 courgette, topped and tailed and cut into batons

Half red pepper, deseeded and cut into batons

Half yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into batons

2-3 tbsp Hoi Sin sauce, from a jar

To serve: 1 cup basmati rice, boiled in 2 cups water for 9-10 mins, until tender. Or serve in pitta pockets.

1. In a bowl, beat the cornflour, soy sauce and rice wine together until they form a batter. Add the chicken breast strips and set aside. This is called 'velveting' which protects the chicken from getting burnt and dried out.

2. Add 1 tbsp sunflower oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat until smoking. Remove the chicken from the cornflour batter and drain off any excess.

3. Stir-fry in the hot oil for 2-3 mins until the chicken is almost cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

4. Wipe the pan clean and add the rest of the oil. Stir-fry the vegetable batons for a couple of minutes, then add the Hoi Sin sauce. Continue to cook for 3-4 mins until the veg starts to become tender, then return the velveted chicken to the pan and stir through.

5. Serve on a bed of basmati rice or in pitta pockets.

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