From the Cookbook #7: Oyster-sauce chicken with ginger and shiitake mushrooms

We should be further along in our obligations on this month’s cookbook but some of the dishes have been so spectacularly good that we made them twice rather than moving on to another recipe as we should have. The hoisin chicken and, of course, the dumplings have made multiple appearances on our plate. Tonight we’re having the dumplings for the third time this month. If it wasn’t for the fact that we have to make ten different dishes by the end of the month, I guarantee we would be having this oyster-sauce chicken again really soon. I like the way it looks. Brothy and delicate.

I tried to find something of a history for this dish. Ching says the dish is inspired by southern dishes from Canton and Fujian. My brief search shows that Cantonese dishes are heavily spiced while Fujianinian… Fujianensian… Fujianesque… dishes from the latter region are usually soup based. That also would describe chili, which this decidedly is not. So much for the enlightenment of history.

Slice some boneless chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and toss in a bowl with salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Fry some thinly sliced ginger in peanut oil for a moment, and then add the chicken and brown. Next add rice wine and then pour in a sauce made from light soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce (we used Sriracha, and will continue to do so), and vegetable stock. In the directions she specifically lists the last ingredient as “cold vegetable stock.” No idea why, but you might as well (lemmings). When you have the sauce at a boil, add shiitake mushrooms, and scallions.

We served it with some brown rice. I think that a gewurztraminer or a peisporter would be nice with this dish. If you must go red, a syrah could be very good.

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