Stir-Fried Chicken with Scallions and Oyster Mushrooms
Adapted from Cook This Now, by Melissa Clark

Melissa’s original recipe is for 2 to 3 people. I was hosting a book club to 4 hungry ladies, so I doubled the proportions of everything. I also used honey instead of sugar, though next time I’m going to try palm sugar instead. Also, I took out leeks because I wanted the sharpness of scallions in my dish. And lastly, because I’m weird, I omitted peanuts from the recipe. I love peanuts, but not with soft chicken – it’s a texture thing. The recipe was SUCH a hit, that my friend Jane asked me to publish it by the time she got back from vacation. And Jane knows I can’t deny her anything.

1/4 cup soy sauce (less if you are using dark soy or tamari, which is saltier), plus additional
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, plus additional for serving
3 tablespoons toasted (Asian) sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat (I used thighs)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup finally chopped peanuts for serving (I omitted)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Steamed rice, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and honey. In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, combine chicken with half the marinade (reserve the other half for stir-frying) and half the chopped ginger and garlic. Squeeze out excess air from the bag, seal it, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (longer than that and the chicken will get mushy).
2. Heat a large 14-inch or so skillet over the highest heat until the pan is screaming hot (Melissa’s own words, which I like!), about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil and tilt the skillet so that the bottom is evenly covered with oil. Lifting the chicken from the marinade, shake off any excess liquid, and add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring constantly and quickly, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes for breasts and 3 to 4 for thigh meat. Transfer chicken to a plate. You might want to cook your chicken in 2 batches. If you overcrowd the pan, your chicken will steam instead of fry.
3. Add the remaining peanut oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms are browned and soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the scallions and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the reserved marinade. Push the vegetables to the border of the pan, leaving an open space in the middle. Add the remaining chopped ginger and garlic to the open space, and mash it around with your spoon until it is tender and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the chicken to the pan and quickly toss it with the ginger, garlic, and vegetables. Taste, and add a few drops of soy sauce, if it needs it.
4. Remove pan from heat and toss in the peanuts (if using) and cilantro. Spoon the stir-fry over steamed rice (I made coconut rice for the occasion), and sprinkle ever-so-lightly with rice wine vinegar before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

© 2024 Olga Massov