Chicken is best when its mild flavour and soft texture are combined with other distinctive tastes and contrasting textures. Sweet, fresh, crispy water chestnuts are thus an admirable partner in any chicken dish.
The clarity of the flavours here, with plain rice, make it a perfect dish for a cool autumn evening. With vegetables, it makes a very satisfying complete meal: nutritious and tasty, but not heavy. Because it re-heats so well, it can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge.
I do not recommend the use of tinned water chestnuts as they are so watery and soft. If fresh water chestnuts are unavailable, substitute firm, fresh, peeled Asian pear apples or firm, crispy apples. Added at the last moment of cooking, they retain their sweet crunchiness.
If you are using unboned thighs, remove the skin and bones from the chicken thighs or
have your butcher do it for you. Cut the chicken into
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Remove
and drain the chicken. Now drain off all but
Re-heat the wok, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the drained chicken to the wok with the water chestnuts and the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the chicken is cooked. Give the mixture a good stir, pour on to a warm platter and serve at once.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.