Thai-Style Ginger Chicken

This Thai-inspired recipe is an extremely close relative of a Chinese recipe. Contrary to what most people think, not all Thai dishes have chillies and are spicy Many of the Thais who have Chinese ancestry come from southern China and their cooking reflects their roots. That is, subtle cooking with nuances, rather than the strong, assertive flavours of chillies that characterize much of Thai cooking. This dish is delicious with plain rice.


  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 12 g (½ oz) Chinese dried wood ears
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons finely shredded fresh root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 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, then drain the chicken and discard the marinade.

Soak the dried wood ears for about 20 minutes until soft. Rinse the wood ears in cold water, cut off any hard bits and finely shred them.

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 or until the chicken begins to brown. Remove the chicken and drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and wood ears and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the bean sauce, sugar and salt and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the chicken to the wok and continue to stir-fry for 4 minutes. Finally, add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Garnish with spring onions and serve.