Chef Jet Tila creates a stir-fried chicken and mushrooms dish that with a number of useful techniques in the process. The chicken is velveted to prevent it from drying out; the ginger is prepared painlessly into beautiful blades of grasscuts; and the whole thing is put together using optimal stir-fry technique.
Mushrooms and Stir-fry Sauce:
3 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms (also known as black Chinese mushrooms)
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce (can be purchased in gourmet or specialty food shops and is flavored with shiitake mushrooms)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon very thin matchstick-size strips peeled fresh ginger
1 pound baby bok choy, bottoms removed, large leaves quartered diagonally
3-4 green onions, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
steamed brown long-grain rice
To prepare the mushrooms and stir-fry sauce: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mushrooms. Place a small plate atop the mushrooms to weigh them down in the water. Set aside until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a work surface; reserve the mushroom soaking liquid. Using a sharp knife, remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut each mushroom into 4 slices. Set the mushrooms aside.
Stir the Shaoxing wine, mushroom soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch mixture, and 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid together in a large measuring cup to blend. Set the stir-fry sauce aside.
To make the stir-fry: Whisk the egg whites, 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, and the salt in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in the Shaoxing rice wine. Toss the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch in another large bowl to coat. Add the chicken to the egg mixture and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the simmering water. Working in batches, strain the chicken from the egg mixture and add the chicken to the simmering water (do not overload the water). Cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a clean large bowl and set aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the first wisp of white spoke comes off of the wok, add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant and beginning to color, about 15 seconds. Add the reserved mushrooms and the bok choy and cook until the bok choy softens, stirring and folding the ingredients to ensure they do not stick to the wok, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium. Rewhisk the stir-fry sauce to blend then pour it over the chicken mixture. Add the green onions. Cook until the sauce simmers and thickens, stirring and folding constantly, about 1 minute.
Transfer to a platter and serve with the steamed rice.