This Chicken, Shiitake and Watercress Stir-Fry gets deep complexity from Chinese fermented chile-bean sauce, also called toban djan, which can be found in the Asian section of well-stocked supermarkets. Grace Young, award-winning chef-author, extols the virtues of this sauce in her Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge cookbook and we’ve become avid converts.
We couldn’t resist stirring in an extra tablespoon of toban djan at the end. The dish comes together in a snap and is great with rice. Also fabulous as leftovers.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sake or Shaoxing
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- Kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. canola or other neutral oil
- 1-1/2 Tbs. Chinese chile-bean sauce; more to taste
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup lower-salt chicken broth
- 1 medium bunch watercress (6 oz.), stemmed
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
Marinating the chicken chunks in corn starch, sake and soy sauce.
Browning the chicken in a skillet before removing to sauté the shiitakes.
Mushrooms cook in oil with chili-bean sauce and ginger.
After removing from heat, watercress and vinegar are stirred in.
- Put the chicken in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tsp. of the soy sauce, the sake, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Heat a wok or a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of the oil and the chicken to the pan in a single layer.
- Leave the chicken undisturbed for about a minute before stirring, and then cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and partially cooked, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
- Return the pan to high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, the chile-bean sauce, and ginger to the pan, and stir to combine. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 minutes.
- Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Stir in the broth and the remaining 1 tsp. soy sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the watercress, vinegar, and more chile-bean sauce to taste. Toss until the watercress wilts. Serve hot.
by Laura B. Russell from Fine Cooking