Braised Chicken with Dried Shiitake Mushrooms


This is one of my favorite things that my mom makes--and yet this isn't her recipe. She doesn't have a recipe! She just makes it up as she goes every time, and I've yet to reverse-engineer it. It's frustrating, but until then, the great Fuschia Dunlop has an excellent dish that gets me similar results. 

If you've never used dried shiitake mushrooms, they are intensely flavorful and savory. They may smell a little funky, but once cooked, they are a delight. They are one of my husband's favorite things ever. This dead simple chicken dish takes advantage of that flavor and uses it to perfume tender chicken. The only thing I do differently is leave out the sesame oil, because my mom never uses that in her version, and I like it more that way. Thanks, Fuschia, for supplying a recipe that reminds me of home.

Braised Chicken with Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

(Recipe from Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop)

  • 8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms (depending on size)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3/4 lb)
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 oz ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • About 3/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional, I leave this out)

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water in a small bowl for at least 30 minutes, or until they are no longer hard to the touch. Cut the soaked mushrooms into quarters (or thirds if they are small), reserving their soaking water. 
  2. Cut the chicken into pieces that are a similar size to the mushrooms. 
  3. Cut the scallions into 2-inch sections, separating the whites from the greens. Crush the white parts slightly with the side of your knife or cleaver.
  4. Add the oil to a seasoned wok over high heat, swirl it around, then add the chicken and stir-fry for a few minutes until the pieces are lightly browned. When the chicken is nearly done, add the ginger and scallion whites and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. 
  5. Add the Shaoxing wine, stirring a few times, then add the mushrooms, mushroom soaking water, and enough stock or water to make up about 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of liquid. Add the sugar, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover the wok. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time (if you need to cook other dishes using the wok, you can transfer the mixture to a saucepan for this step). 
  6. Remove the lid, increase the heat, and reduce the liquid to thicken the sauce. Adjust the seasoning, add the scallion greens and sesame oil (if using), and serve. 

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