Fist of Kitchen presents… Eat it: China!

Recooking "The Art of Chinese Cooking" by The Benedictine Sisters of Peking, 1956 | Remixed by Fist of Kitchen 2013

book version

Mushroom Chicken


Mushroom Chicken

  • 1 lb. chicken meat
  • ½ c. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 5 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. Crimini mushrooms
  • 2.5 c. stock

Here’s another recipe calling for canned mushrooms. We won’t do that, but we will take a moment to talk about the ingredients. You’ll notice there’s no ginger, spice—not even onion above. Three things. There’s only three things with a voice here: soy sauce, mushrooms and chicken. This is a nice, quick little stew if you pay correct attention to each ingredient.

1. Choose a really tasty soy sauce or this isn’t worth making.

Forget about it if you’re going to reach for the Kikkoman’s. That’s not snobbery. The Asian brands are usually cheaper. So experiment and find your favorite at your local Asian market. I’ve mentioned Pearl River Brand dark soy sauce before, or ABC Kecap Manis would be good. These have maltier and more complex flavors than the US major labels. They’re also less salty. Speaking of salt, this should be served with rice or another starch to counteract its saltiness. You may reduce the amount of soy sauce as you like. Oh, and if you like malt, try Pearl River’s mushroom soy sauce—it’s a little bitter, frankly. Probably can’t handle the umami, but it would be interesting to try this with some sweet Thai Black Soy Sauce. We’ll be doing a soy sauce round-up review in the future, so stay tuned.

2. Get the most from your mushrooms

If your grocery has bulk mushrooms, pick out the smallest, same-sized Criminis you can find, for presentation and even cooking. This is also a dish I’d cook to highlight some morels I just picked. We both agree shiitakes are too strong for this. I don’t even want to wade into the wash vs. don’t wash mushrooms debate—too hot—I’ll just confess that I do both. Freaky right?

The original recipe cooks all of the ingredients very quickly. It should be slowed down to get the most out of your mushrooms. Simmer the mushrooms in chicken, beef or duck stock, covered for 20 minutes. This will allow the mushrooms to sweat out their flavor and infuse the stock royally.

3. Despite all these words, it’s a quick stew

We used skinless, boneless breast because this cooks fairly quickly—thigh meat would turn out tough. Cut the chicken in 1½” by 1″ strips, and mix with the soy sauce and sugar. Bring the stock and mushrooms up to a boil, add chicken. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and mushrooms. In a separate dish mix the cornstarch with 5 tablespoons of the stock. Now slowly whisk that mixture into the boiling stock. Once thick, gently fold the chicken and mushrooms back into the sauce.

Serve it on rice. Or noodles. Or rice cakes. I don’t care!

Mushroom Chicken

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