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Chicken, Bok Choy, and Mushroom Stir-fry: A Classic Combination

Tender, juicy chicken strips are stir-fried with bok choy, mushrooms, spring onions, and red peppers in a sesame ginger garlic sauce.

Bok Choy and Mushrooms are a classic combination in Chinese cuisine. White or brown mushrooms are delicious but affordable.

This recipe is based on a classic I found in the New York Times cooking section. That recipe was good but was also a little on the bland side and contained some expensive and hard-to-find mushrooms and other ingredients. This is a far better dish at a far lower price.

The combination of boy choy and mushrooms is a classic in Chinese cuisine, but the mushrooms tend to be of the type found only in Asian groceries and high-end supermarkets. You can certainly use whatever mushroom you have and prefer, but this dish is very good using plain white or brown (baby Bella) mushrooms from any supermarket. The bok choy is, alas, a necessity. There is no substitute there, but I find it everywhere now.

The Chicken

For this dish, use skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. They are much cheaper and tastier. Unlike chicken breasts, there is no need to tenderize or "velvet" chicken thighs. Just cut them into short strips and marinate them briefly for flavor.

I buy a pound of whole chicken thighs and remove the skin and bone myself.

In processing chicken thighs, you generally lose around one-fourth of a pound in bone and skin. So, either start with 1-pound whole chicken thighs or buy three-fourths of a pound if you prefer to buy skinless and boneless thighs. Since these thighs are cut into strips or cubes, neat or professional bone removal is unnecessary. Save the bones and scraps and put your stock bag (a bag of bone, skin, and scraps of chicken used to make stock) back in the freezer.

The Vegetables

Cut the bok choy stems crosswise into bite-sized pieces. Cut the leaf portion into larger pieces (it will wilt and cook down). Keep the stem and leaf portions separate.

Slice the mushrooms and green onions. Cut the peppers into one-half-inch cubes. Arrange everything near the stove. Once the cooking process starts, stir-fry quickly.

The Sauce/Marinade

Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and brown sugar. Finely grate the ginger and press the garlic. Mix one-half of the ginger and garlic into the sauce.

Pour half the sauce over the chicken strips and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Stir Frying

Heat Oil and put in half the chicken strips. Shake the wok a little, but let the chicken sear undisturbed. As you begin to see the chicken cooking around the edges, check if your chicken is beginning to brown. Once it is browning on one side, stir and turn it over. Cook until not quite done. Do not overcook the chicken in pursuit of browning. Remove the chicken to a plate and cook the other half.

Then, cook the mushrooms in the same pan without washing them -- this will deglaze the pan. When the mushrooms start to brown (the moisture is burned off, and only the oil remains), remove the mushrooms to a dish and wash the wok, if necessary.

 Heat more oil and stir fry the Bok Choy stems, the onions, the peppers, and the leaves.

Add the chicken back to the wok along with the mushrooms, stir everything for a minute, and add the sauce.

If you like a thick sauce, add the cornstarch/water slurry at the very end.

Get the dish out of the Wok--it will continue to cook if you leave it there. Serve with jasmine rice.

I put 2 c. jasmine rice, 2 c. water, and a pinch of salt in the Instant Pot on the rice setting before I start stir-frying. It takes about 15 minutes total, so it all comes to a finish at roughly the same time.

You can serve this dish over rice or noodles if you prefer. If you are on a low-carb diet, skip the cornstarch slurry and serve without added carbs.

Chicken, Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir-Fry (Cost is $9.71 for four generous servings)

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