Braised Chicken Thai-style

Chicken is delicious when cooked long and gently enough so that all its own virtues and the deep flavours of the accompanying seasonings can develop fully. That is to say, when it is braised.

In braising chicken, I prefer to use thighs. They are sturdy enough to be cooked for a long time and yet retain their taste and texture, while absorbing the sauce. Speaking of which, the Thai tastes will be apparent.

This is a dish that can be prepared ahead of time and then reheated.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 900 g (2 lb) unboned chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 15 g (½ oz) black mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons homemade chicken stock or store-bought fresh stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

  • 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 2.5 cm (1 in) chunks and combine with the soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice wine, sesame oil and cornflour. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems and finely slice the caps.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the groundnut oil, and when it is slightly smoking, add the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Remove and drain the chicken in a stainless-steel colander set inside a bowl, leaving about 2 teaspoons of oil in the wok. Reheat the wok, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken, mushrooms, spring onions, the remaining rice wine and the rest of the ingredients. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring. When the chicken is cooked, stir, pour onto a warm platter, garnish with the coriander and serve at once.

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