Friday, August 1, 2008

Ginger and Scallions Chicken

Stir-fried chicken with ginger and scallions is a traditional Chinese dish. As simple as the ingredients sound, this is not an easy dish to cook well. This dish needs a lot of wok skills. Hence, this ginger-and-scallions style of cooking is often my litmus test when I go to a new Chinese/Cantonese restaurant. If a chef can make a mighty wok hei-infused ginger-and-scallions dish--be it chicken, beef, crab, or lobster--it's a sure fire sign that the food will be great.

At home, I like cooking this dish when I want something quick and simple with my steamed rice (aka 30-minute meal) . I always marinate the chicken meat with potato flour or corn starch. (This is one of the many secrets of Chinese cooking; this process will make the meat extra tender and smooth.) I once asked a master Chinese chef and he told me that potato flour is preferred as a tenderizing agent due to the gelatinous texture. He also told me that a wee bit of baking soda will do even more wonders to tenderize the meat.

  • 1 chicken breast (deboned, skinned and cut lengthwise into 2-inch chicken strips)
  • 4 stalks of scallions (cut into 2-inch sections)
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced into pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (one tablespoon for marinating chicken)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of potato flour or corn flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 dash of white pepper powder
  • Salt to taste


  • Marinate the chicken strips with potato flour or corn flour and add one tablespoon of oil to seal in the juice of the chicken. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  • Heat up your wok and pour the remaining cooking oil into the wok. When the wok gets very hot and begins to smoke, add in the ginger and stir for a few seconds, then add the scallions and stir until thoroughly hot. Add in the chicken strips and continue to stir well. Just when the chicken strips start to cook, add in the oyster sauce, sesame oil, cooking wine, white pepper, sugar, and toss the wok a few times. Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed white rice.

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