Salty and spicy, the heat in this soy-braised chicken with shiitake mushrooms comes from Sriracha, grated fresh ginger and garlic. But the richly complex flavors are brought together by the soy sauce.
I was winding down with work at around 3.00 a.m., when my friend, Joel, who is now in New York PM’d a link to a slideshow on Food & Wine. I deferred going to bed and pored over the recipes for all 35 chicken dishes in the slideshow. I counted ten that I’d like to try. This soy-braised chicken with shiitake mushrooms was on top of my list.
Of course, I modified the recipe to make it more convenient for me and to ensure than lunch would be served on time.
In the original recipe, chicken thighs were marinated then braised in the oven. Considering that my big-ass oven takes at least 20 minutes to preheat properly, I opted to do the braising on the stovetop. And, to give the chicken better texture, I browned the chicken in hot oil before braising.
I used dried shiitake mushrooms — the pre-sliced kind. I just soaked them in hot water for half an hour and used some of the soaking water to cook the chicken. There is no need to soak fresh shiitake.
- 3 chicken legs and thighs (I left the thighs attached to the legs)
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
- 1 tablespoons Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons snipped scallions
- 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
Sear the chicken over high heat until browned. Flip over for even browning.
Scoop out the half-cooked chicken and set aside.
Pour off the cooking oil (you'll need some of it later).
Pour the soy sauce and Sriracha into the pan. Add a quarter cup of the water in which the mushrooms were soaked (or plain water if using fresh shiitake). Add the ginger and garlic. Stir.
Put the chicken back into the pan with the sauce. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Turn them once or twice during cooking.
About ten minutes before the chicken is done, prepare the shiitake mushrooms.
Take two tablespoonfuls of the oil in which the chicken was browned and pour into a small frying pan.
Heat the oil. Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes. Stir in the scallions. Cook for another 30 seconds. Turn off the heat but leave the mushrooms in the pan. The sides touching the pan will brown to a light crisp in the residual heat. It's a lovely texture.
The soy-braised chicken with shiitake mushrooms is lovely to serve with rice. Ladle rice on a plate. Place a piece of chicken on top. Spoon some of the shiitake on the side. Stir the lemon juice into the remaining braising sauce and drizzle over the chicken and mushrooms.