Stir-fried Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms

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Is this a Thai classic, or a south China speciality? The Chinese influence is quite clear in this delicious dish that combines delicate chicken flavours with tart spicy ginger and Chinese mushrooms.

‘Chines’ mushrooms have a unique flavour and texture and are well worth a special search; they absorb and enhance all the rich juices of the chicken and ginger.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 900 g (2 lb) unboned chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 25 g (1 oz) Chinese dried black mushrooms
  • 15 g (½ oz) dried cloud ear mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) homemade chicken stock or store-bought fresh stock

Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded spring onions
  • handful fresh coriander leaves

Method

If using unboned thighs, remove the skin and bones or have your butcher do it for you. Cut the chicken into 5 cm (2 in) chunks and place in a dish. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and sesame oil and pour it over the chicken. Then mix in the cornflour until all the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. Leave the chicken to marinate for about 30 minutes.

In two separate bowls, soak the black mushrooms and the cloud ears in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain the black mushrooms and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems and finely shred the caps. Drain the cloud ears and rinse well in cold water to remove any trace of sand.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the groundnut oil, and when very hot and slightly smoking, add the ginger and stir-fry until it is crispy, about 1 minute. Then add the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken begins to brown. Remove the chicken and let it drain in a stainless-steel colander set inside a bowl. Reheat the wok and return the chicken to the wok together with the black and cloud ear mushrooms, the garlic and shallots. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the pepper and the stock and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover the wok or pan and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the cover and reduce the sauce over high heat. When it has been reduced to about several tablespoons, stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Drizzle with the sesame oil, garnish with spring onions and coriander, and serve at once.

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