I spent a couple of years living in Hong Kong, and was lucky enough to holiday through Asia too, so got to enjoy some full on, authentic cuisine, ranging from street food to a banquet for Chinese New Year at the Mandarin Oriental. If I’m honest, a lot of the food we ate wasn’t in salubrious places,but was fabulous none the less. Generally, if a place is busy with locals, the food will be great. We’d strike up friendships and ask lots of questions, and buy lots of cook books. My parents are adventurous and embrace new cultures, so many weekends were spent round the markets using a few cantonese words and gestures, picking up ingredients, and having a go. These are skills I’ve learned to make my own, on the whole to great success!
Anyway, enough of memory lane, this dish is maximum taste and a real favourite with the family. I’ve used chicken, but you could just as easily use pork or beef finely sliced, add more mushrooms(use a mixture of fresh and dried) and keep it vegetarian, use Quorn pieces even. Your call.
Ingredients (to feed 4)
400g skinless chicken breast (you could use boneless, skinless thighs) chopped into chunks
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and very finely sliced into matchsticks
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 green pepper,cut into small chunks
Spring onions, probably about 4, sliced in batons a bit bigger than the ginger you should have a reasonable sized handful
A handful of dried mushrooms, I used shitake
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used 1 light, 1 dark, if you only have one type just use that)
2 tablespoons rice wine (sherry or white wine will also do the job)
1 cup / 250ml of chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper(again black will do)
- Rehydrate your mushrooms in a bowl with some boiling water. When they’re cool enough to handle give them a squeeze and roughly cut them up.
- Put the chicken in a bowl with one tablespoon of cornflour and one tablespoon of oil, mix really well, and put to one side. This tenderizes the meat.
- Make up the sauce-add 1 tablespoon cornflour, all the wet ingredients, the soy, oyster sauce, rice wine, stock, pepper, sugar, mix well and put to the side.
- In your wok or big pan add 2 tablespoons of oil, maximum heat and when hot add the ginger and stir constantly for 30-45 seconds, then remove.
- Still on maximum, add your garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and add the chicken, green pepper and mushrooms, and cook for roughly 3-5 minutes, adding a little more oil or water if it starts to stick or brown too much. You want the chicken to be cooking on all sides, not browning overly, the pepper should be softening, you should be stirring pretty much constantly, add the ginger back in, and it should look like this
- Add the spring onion, and cook for 1-2 minutes to wilt it, then give your sauce a stir and pour in.
- Stir constantly, taste the sauce, mine needed a touch more sweetness so I added another half a teaspoon of sugar, and it needed a bit more of a ginger hit so I cheated a bit and added 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger. Don’t be afraid to adjust at this stage, but don’t leave it any later than here or what you add won’t have time to meld. Cook for another 3-5 minutes
- Check the chicken is cooked all the way through, your sauce is lovely and thick, and dish it up! Tonight we had it with boiled rice and Vegetable Chow Mein (recipe to follow!). This would have fed us on its own with rice though, we’ll be eating noodles for lunch tomorrow!