It’s been a while since I’ve worked my way through a whole cookbook, but it’s fast heading in that direction with the new Ken Hom addition to the collection. Every one is a winner so far and this dish is no exception. I’ve been wanting to try it out for a couple of weeks, being the first recipe that grabbed my attention (I admit, partly due to the egg content). I would describe this casserole as a Thai dish with heavy Chinese influences. Everyone should try it at least once. 

So what do we have here…predominantly marinated chicken, eggs, ginger, garlic, onion, coriander and Chinese dried black mushrooms. We picked up a bag of the latter on the last oriental supermarket run and have been curious to crack them open. They do require a bit of soaking in warm water (overnight if possible) but just 15g provides enough for two in this meal. And they taste delicious! The full ingredients list and method can be found in Ken Hom’s ‘Ken Hom Cooks Thai’.

To make our version of this dish (serves two generously) you will need:

– Four medium eggs

– 600g of chicken thighs (skinless/boneless/cut into inch chunks)

– Two teaspoons of light soy sauce & two tablespoons of light soy sauce 

– One teaspoon of dark soy sauce 

– Three tablespoons of Shaoshing rice wine 

– Half a teaspoon of salt

– Quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper

– One teaspoon of sesame oil 

– Two teaspoons of cornflour 

– 15g of Chinese dried black mushrooms 

– One tablespoon of sunflower oil 

– One small onion (peeled/cut into eight wedges)

– Two tablespoons of garlic (peeled/finely chopped)

– Four slices of fresh ginger 

– Two tablespoons of sugar

– One tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander and extra to garnish 

Method:

– Soak the Chinese mushrooms in warm water for at least a few hours before cooking to allow them to expand (preferably overnight). Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Discard the stems and cut the caps into quarters. Set aside. 

– Boil the eggs to your liking (we did them slightly soft centred) then rinse with cold water and peel. Set aside.

– Mix the two teaspoons of light soy, the dark soy, one tablespoon of Shaohsing rice wine, salt, pepper and sesame oil together in a bowl and coat the chicken with the marinade. Spoon the cornflour in and mix well with the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for as long as possible (preferably over an hour). Then drain using a colander, reserving the juice.

– Heat the oil in a wok to a high heat. When it starts to smoke add the drained chicken and stir-fry for five minutes or until meat starts to brown. Remove the chicken from the wok onto a warmed plate. 

– Add a little more oil if required then introduce the onion, garlic, ginger and mushrooms to the wok. Stir-fry for one minute then add remaining light soy sauces, sugar, coriander and two tablespoons of Shaohsing rice wine. Cook for a further half a minute. 

– Return the chicken and its juice to the pan and stir-fry for four minutes before finally adding the hard boiled eggs. Gently cook for two minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

 – Serve with basmati rice and garnish with the remaining coriander. 

This was a real Friday night treat. Our first time experimenting with Chinese mushrooms was a resounding success! They are soft, sweet and earthy, working perfectly in contrast with the potency of the coriander and ginger on this plate. I found the array of tastes and textures quite exciting, as every now and then you get a fork full of lovely semi-soft boiled egg bursting with Thai flavours. An extremely well thought out recipe. Big thumbs up. 

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