Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken with Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce

A friend gave me Nina Simonds' A Spoonful of Ginger back around 2003, and I go to it when I want an Asian recipe that is simple and comforting.  The book is based on an Asian philosophy of food as health-giving, balancing yin and yang.  I'm not sure how much I buy into that philosophy, but I'll admit that there is something about these recipes that makes me happy.

This recipe is probably my favorite in the book because my version has very little hands on time, making it workable for a weeknight. I've cut out a bunch of steps including marinating and roasting the chicken before simmering it.  This time I made it true to the original recipe, but I didn't think it made any difference in the flavor. It seems like a waste to heat your oven all the way up to 475 degrees just to pre-roast the chicken  for 15 minutes.  It looks like this cookbook is going to be re-released this April, and the pre-order price is only about $10! I wonder if there will be new recipes!

Chicken and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce
adapted from Nina Simonds' A Spoonful of Ginger

3.5 to 4 pounds of dark meat chicken parts (thighs, legs, or wings)
10 dried Chinese black mushrooms

Braising Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 tablespoons oyster suace
3 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1.5 teaspoons sugar
6 slices of fresh ginger
About 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of cold water

1. Place mushrooms in 1.5 cups of water and microwave for two minutes. (I use my 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup.) Steep for 10 minutes until soft. Then remove stems and cut caps into thirds.

2. Mix braising sauce together in a small bowl. Place chicken and mushrooms in a Dutch oven along with braising sauce.  Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.  If the sauce hasn't thickened, add add another teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a tablespoon of cold water.  Serve over rice and vegetable.

Yield: 6 servings
Active time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 70 minutes

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