Are you listening? Well listen. This is revolutionary because it starts out as a stir-fry, and then you get it really wet to finish it off. Such cross-technique kitchen craft will guarantee all sorts of awards for you.

Two or three people can eat this. They will become satiated. Additionally they may acquire intrinsic polymorph control. Additionally my style of recipe writing allows for infinite customization.


AXIOMS
(If you don't have these, you're baking a cake or something.)

Chicken thighs.
Skin on, bone in. Six of them, because that is how many come in the package.

Pepper.
Not the stupid kind where the peppercorns come in a spectrum of designer colors.

Fresh garlic.
Maybe a head's worth. It'll get pretty mellow, since you're going to be stewing it for awhile, so you want more than you think you need.

Fresh ginger.
Which doesn't mellow with heat. It stays around to fuck you up. Say a piece the size of the first knuckle on your thumb.

Onion.
A decent-size yellow one. Not flyblown, please.

Shiitake mushrooms.
150 percent as many shiitakes as chicken thighs. If you're using dried, make sure to save the water you soak them in. This liquid will contain the mushroom's indefatigible essence.

Chicken stock.
About a cup and a half, or less, if you've got some mushroom soaking liquid. Canned works, because this isn't soup. You are not putting this chicken stock up on a pedestal here.


SYSTEMS
(Pick only one. You are not a proper heretic. You are too weak to innovate outside my wise guidelines. Pick only one.)

Oyster sauce.
The kind that has 'oyster extractives' as the first ingredient, not the fifth. Spend that extra two bucks on oyster extractives.

Hoisin sauce.
I don't know what this is, actually.

Dark soy sauce.
With brown or cane sugar thrown in, maybe.

Shit, you know, any sweet dark glossy sauce. There's probably a big list of them on Wikipedia.


ELEMENTS
(Pick some. Or all. Do not pick none, for reason of banality.)

Any other kind of mushroom.
Especially recommended come straw mushrooms. They look like little eggs. Do not harm them!

Bamboo shoots.

Broccoli.
Great because the florets soak up the sauce, and make it look like a pile of food, as opposed to a slop.

Peapods.

Gai lan.

Chinese cabbage.

Water chestnuts.
Fresh ones only. So they crunch sweetly across the tongue. This is a recipe for chicken, friend -- not woe.

Cashews.
Toasted ones.

Carrots.

Sake, or Shaoxing wine.
A mere splash. You cook off the alcohol anyway, so adding more wine will not make you drunkener.


MODEL
(Without this framework, your procedures will come to naught.)

Cut the onion into really thin, short strips. The kind that vanish into the onion dimension when they get hot.

Make the ginger and the garlic really small too.

Chop the veggies down until they fit your mouth. But do not eat them! (Unless...)

Put the chicken somewhere to rest, with enough of the sauce poured over it to make it reasonably gooey. Grind a bunch of pepper over it. Too much is probably good. Let it sit for half an hour or so.

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until they get soft. Then chop them up like they were a vegetable or something.


METHOD

Put a little bit of oil in a big pot. Get it so it would burn you if you touched it. Maybe 4 on the dial.

Put the onions, garlic and ginger in. Stir them around. They will get to smell nice. Turn the stove up to six or so.

Dump in the shiitake mushrooms (but not any other mushrooms) and saucy chicken parts. Stir them around too. Get the outsides decently browned. This step is all about locking in tenderness.

Cover the chicken with wet stuff. I am referring to chicken stock and mushroom soaking liquid. (About half and half is ideal. Mushroom soaking liquid is a great addition because it keeps this thing from getting too rich.) If you've got some tasty wine, put that in, too.

Turn the dial down to five. Let it cook for half an hour or so, on a slow boil. Stir it a couple of times, because you're a meddling neurotic.

Slice a chicken thigh open and see if it's cooked down by the bone. If it isn't, mutter coarsely, and try again in six or seven minutes.

When the chicken's done, start putting in the veggies. Do it in order of firmness. Firmness is equivalent to cooking time! By which I mean broccoli and carrots will take six minutes or so, peapods and toasted cashews will take one, and the other ones, fittingly, come in between.

If it looks like there's an imminent dearth of liquid, put the lid on the pot.


THEOREM

When it's done, put it on some plates. Brown rice helps, because there is a lot of goo that escapes otherwise.

Side dishes are for rubes. Instead I recommend pale ale.

Don't eat the leftovers cold. This is a dish that congeals. Return them to the stove!

Adapted from Ming Tsai's spectacular Blue Ginger cookbook.

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