Peter Ng’s Sesame-Ginger Chicken

Peter Ng is a lover of good food and an excellent cook. Of Chinese descent, he was born in Malaysia and now lives in Adelaide, Australia. His cultural inheritance is obvious in his cooking, which combines Malaysian flavours with Chinese techniques.

Peter recalls that this recipe was prepared by his mother as a special treat for his sister when she was pregnant. Ginger is highly regarded by the Chinese who believe its ‘warming’ (or yang) properties are beneficial to both mother and child. Be that as it may, ginger, chicken thighs and selected spices make a happy marriage as they cook in the wok. The dish is the centrepiece of a marvellous meal when combined with rice and vegetables.


  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon ground nut oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) Chicken Stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

For the Marinade

  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

For the Garnish

  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded spring onions


Cut the chicken into 5-cm (2-in) chunks. Mix the soy sauces, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, salt, 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. Drain the chicken and discard the marinade.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the groundnut and sesame oils and, when they are very hot and slightly smoking, add the ginger and pan-fry for about 1 minute until it is crispy. Then add the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken begins to brown. Add the soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and stock or water 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 boil over a high heat to reduce the sauce. When only a few tablespoons of the sauce remains, add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and continue to stir-fry for about 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Garnish with the spring onions and serve.