As much as I love eating out at fancy restaurants and watching TV shows like Top Chef, the cooking that is closest to my heart is home cooking — dishes that are humble and maybe a little homely, but feel like the food equivalent of a warm hug.
This gingery chicken stir-fry is home cooking at its best: quick and simple to prepare, with a punch of flavor that manages to be both exciting and deeply comforting. Make it once and you might never call for Thai takeout again.
This was one of the first Thai recipes I ever mastered and it became pretty much an instant favorite. Like most stir-fries, the ingredient list is short and simple, but a magical transformation occurs once everything hits the pan, resulting in a finished dish that is somehow more than the sum of its parts.
Ginger is the key to that magic; along with the umami-bomb combo of fish sauce and oyster sauce, it infuses the chicken and vegetables with a deep flavor in the hot wok or skillet.
If you are new to stir-frying, familiarize yourself with the basics in this cooking lesson from stir-fry expert, Grace Young, before you get started.
Read more: How To Stir-Fry Chicken
The key points to remember? Cut all your ingredients in uniform, bite-sized pieces; have the meat, vegetables, and sauce prepped and within easy reach once you start cooking; and cook over high heat and give the chicken some time to brown when you initially put it in the pan.
And if you already rely on stir-frying for quick, healthy, and satisfying meals, you will be happy to add this gingery recipe to your home-cooking repertoire.
The next time you're seriously considering takeout, I encourage you to try this recipe instead. It will come together faster than the time it takes for your delivery guy to get to you and it will be even more satisfying.
Fish sauce and oyster sauce join forces to make one seriously umami-rich sauce for the chicken and veggies that's accented by spicy, fragrant ginger. While I love the crisp, juicy bell peppers here, I could definitely see this recipe being super adaptable. Next time I plan to try it with broccoli florets that I've blanched so they finish cooking quickly in the skillet. I also think adding snow peas or sliced mushrooms would be nice.
- Sheela, April 2018
Thai Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry (Gai Pad Khing)
grapeseed, canola, or other high-heat oil
boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/4-inch thick)
medium scallions, ends cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
thinly sliced red bell pepper (from about 1 small pepper)
thinly sliced onion (from about 1/2 small onion)
matchstick fresh peeled ginger
Cooked white rice or brown rice, for serving
Place the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Keep near the stove, along with the chicken and vegetables.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the chicken in an even layer and sear, undisturbed, for about 1 minute. Chicken will be lightly browned, but not cooked through. Add the bell pepper, onions, scallions, ginger, garlic, and sauce. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the bell peppers and onions are crisp-tender. Serve immediately, with plain white or brown rice.
Oyster sauce: Oyster sauce is a sweet and savory sauce made with oyster extract. (You can also find vegetarian versions made from mushrooms.) Look for it in well-stocked supermarkets, Asian markets, or online.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.