Traditional Chinese ginger chicken is braised in a brown sauce flavored with fresh ginger, garlic, and scallions. The sauce is delicious over rice or noodles.
Differences Between Young and Old Ginger
The pungent ginger taste of mature ginger is much more intense than that of fresh ginger. The skin of a young ginger is slightly translucent and has a pinkish hue. It tastes slightly flowery and little peppery.
The ginger sold in most grocery stores across the United States is fully developed and ready for use in this recipe. Even in Asian markets, I haven’t seen young ginger very often because it’s only in season for a short time (mid-September to early November).
The classic trio of fresh aromatics most often used in Cantonese cooking is ginger, garlic, and scallion, and I can attest that the chefs’ Chinese Ginger Chicken had the strong, tasty flavor that comes from these three ingredients.
While the ginger certainly takes center stage, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my mother’s Oyster Sauce Chicken when eating this. That gummy sauce just can’t be ignored! While my mother typically served the chicken with the bone, boneless chicken thighs make this recipe a little less labor-intensive.
Wait a few years; I used to dislike ginger, but now I can’t get enough of it and crave dishes like this Ginger Chicken! Browse our Chinese ingredients glossary for more information on fresh ginger and its uses in Chinese cuisine.
Would Chicken Breast or Thighs Be Preferrable?
Thighs can withstand more time in the oven than chicken breasts can, so they’re perfect for braises and sauces that take on more of a simmered flavor.
However, chicken breast is ideal for fast cooking methods such as stir-frying and grilling.
The dish is really a braise, so chicken thighs are ideal. For those who would rather consume the white flesh, take the chicken breasts out after browning them and return them to the pan once the sauce has been reduced. You’ll get tender chicken breasts and a tasty ginger sauce from the gradual cooking.
- 680g of boneless skinless chicken thighs (1-inch chunks)
- 6 slices of ginger (1/4 inch)
- 4 cloves of garlic (cut in half)
- 3 scallions; cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 3 shallots
- 1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with water
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
- Cleave the white sections of the scallions, garlic, and ginger into small pieces (use a firmer hand on the ginger). The aromatics in the dish will have more of an impact after being released in this manner.
- Warm the canola oil until it begins to smoke, and then coat the outer edge of the wok with it. Fry the crushed ginger slices for about a minute.
- The chicken should be laid out in a single layer in the wok. To sear, heat the pan for 45 seconds. Fry for an additional 30 seconds after you flip them.
- Stir in the onion, garlic, and scallion whites. Keep stirring-frying for another 30 seconds over high heat, combining all ingredients.
- For a further 20 seconds of stir-frying, add the Shaoxing wine. Then, stir in the chicken stock, brown sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, and oyster sauce (not required, but highly recommended). Keep cooking for another 5 minutes, covered, over high heat.
- Take off the lid and continue cooking for another 7 minutes to evaporate the water. The green sections of the scallions should be added to the mixture, and the sauce should be thickened by mixing in a mixture of cornstarch and water. The sauce can be made thicker by adding more cornstarch slurry.