If I told you to pour diet coke over your chicken stir-fry, you’d tell me to do one, right? But wait. Diet Cola Chicken from Pinch of Nom in theory shouldn’t work, but it absolutely delivers. Somehow the geniuses at ‘Nom’ towers determined that pouring diet coke (or Pepsi or other cheap diet cola, I’m not judging) into the pan creates a sticky and sweet sauce that is heaven in a stir-fry. Don’t knock it until you try it!
As with some other Pinch of Nom recipes, you’ll have some odds and sods ingredients left over, so what should you do with them? To use up the peppers, mushrooms and baby corn, I would opt for cajun dirty rice and hot and sour soup. And for the chicken, I’d go for sweet and sour chicken or chicken and mushroom risotto.
By the way, this fab Diet Cola Chicken recipe is only 217 calories per serving. You can serve it with rice but there is so much packed into this I don’t think it needs it. One more thing. This cooks relatively quickly once all the ingredients are prepped. The book says the prep time is 10 minutes, but not even Jamie Oliver on coke could get everything ready in that time. Or, maybe he could, but unless you’re Speedy Gonzalez with a knife I’d allow for the extra time. As good as this is, quick it aint.
Recipe: Diet Cola Chicken
Calories: 217 per serving (without rice)
Book: Pinch of Nom
Prep time: Approx 25 mins
Cooking time: Approx 25 mins
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 2 chicken breasts diced (skin and visible fat removed)
- ½ tsp Chinese 5-spice
- Sea salt
- 1 red onion (sliced)
- 1.5cm piece of root ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 6 mushrooms (quartered)
- ½ red pepper (deseeded and cut into strips)
- ½ green pepper (deseeded and cut into strips)
- ½ yellow pepper (deseeded and cut into strips)
- 6 baby corn (halved lengthways)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar (such as sherry or rice)
- 1 x 330ml can diet cola
- ½ chicken stock cube
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 5 spring onions (trimmed and roughly chopped)
Cost per portion: Approx £1.51 (without rice)
Spray a frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a low heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle with the Chinese 5-spice and season with salt. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the chicken has started to brown.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside on a plate, add a few more sprays of low-calorie cooking spray to the pan, then add the onion, ginger, garlic and mushrooms and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften, then add the peppers, baby corn, tomato puree, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Stir, then add the cola. Stir again and bring to the boil.
Crumble in the stock cube and the stock pot and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. When the sauce has started to thicken and go a bit syrupy, return the chicken to the pan and stir in the spring onions. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the consistency and if it’s not quite thick enough, simmer for a bit longer, until the required consistency is reached, ensuring the chicken is cooked through.