Simple Stir-fried Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Thailand’s warm climate, varied geography, fertile soils and bountiful fresh and ocean waters provide an abundant supply of foods and seasonings. Thai culture and civilization have used these blessings to produce a style of cuisine whose glories grace the tables of both rich and poor. A gourmet in Thailand will find satisfaction at both the finest restaurants and at small eateries and food stalls.

I have often savoured the tastes and aromas of Thai foods, in the cities and in the countryside, enjoying the familiar sound of well prepared foods reacting to the browned garlic in the hot wok – wonderful.

This recipe is for one of those simple yet elegant dishes. Asparagus is a relative newcomer to Thailand but became an instant favourite there as everywhere. The oyster mushrooms add a special touch to this easy-to-make and most satisfying treat.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 110 g (4 oz) finely sliced onion
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 225 g (8 oz) oyster or ordinary mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons homemade chicken stock or store-bought fresh stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • handful fresh coriander leaves

Method

Cut the chicken into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces. Put into a bowl and add the salt, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and the cornflour. Mix well and let marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the asparagus on the diagonal into 7.5 cm (3 in) pieces and set aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add the groundnut oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Pour the chicken into a stainless-steel colander set inside a bowl to drain, leaving behind about tablespoons of oil in the wok. Reheat the wok over high heat. When it is very hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the asparagus and mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Now add the stock or water, fish sauce, ½ teaspoon of the pepper and the sugar. Continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is slightly tender and the mushrooms are cooked through. Add more water as necessary. Quickly return the drained chicken to the wok, add the oyster sauce, and stir well. Now add the coriander leaves, turn the mixture onto a warm platter and serve at once.

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