This quick and simple stir-fry features both fresh and dried mushrooms for maximum flavor and texture, and chicken that's been water-velveted—an easy technique that guarantees tender, silky meat.
Why this recipe works:
- Marinating the chicken strips in a mixture of cornstarch, egg white, wine, and seasonings—a process known as velveting—guarantees silky, tender meat.
- Par-cooking the meat in a bath of boiling water with just a little oil is much easier for home cooks than the more traditional hot-oil-bath method, with equally good results.
Note: To make egg white easy to measure, beat it with a fork until it has a thinner viscosity. Dried wood ear mushrooms can be found in most Asian markets.
- For the Velveted Chicken:
- 1 tablespoon egg white (see note)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or sake
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 pound chicken breast, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
- For Sauce and Stir-Fry:
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, divided
- 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, enoki, and/or oyster, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushroom, rehydrated in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained and large pieces halved (see note)
- Cooked white rice, for serving
For the Velveted Chicken: In a small bowl, thoroughly combine egg white, cornstarch, rice wine, and salt. Place chicken in a bowl and add cornstarch mixture, tossing to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fill a wok with water and bring to a boil, then add oil. Add chicken and, separating pieces with chopsticks or a spatula, cook until chicken is white outside but still raw within, about 40 seconds. Drain chicken in a colander and shake off excess water. Wipe wok clean and dry.
For Sauce and Stir-Fry: In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and water.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok over high heat until smoking. Add fresh mixed mushrooms and season with salt. Cook, stirring and tossing, until mushrooms have released their water, about 3 minutes. Add rehydrated wood ear mushrooms and cook until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushroom to a plate and wipe out wok.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok over high heat until smoking. Add chicken and stir-fry until chicken is almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to wok and stir to combine with chicken. Stir sauce add to the wok, tossing, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve with white rice.