Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recipe for Mark Bittman's Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms and Thai Flavors

Mark Bittman's Ginger Chicken
Mark Bittman's Ginger Chicken is a dish that's easy, delicious, and healthy!

(Updated with step-by-step photos and better instructions, February 2013.)  I'm pretty sure I don't have the mental discipline to be one of those bloggers who cook their way through an entire recipe book, but back in 2005 I did cook a number of dishes from The Best Recipes in the World, where famous minimalist cook Mark Bittman shared the best recipes from 44 different countries. The book has international dishes that are fun to try cooking at home, and Bittman's non-fussy style gives lots of possible substitutions for home cooks who don't have a huge assortment of ethnic ingredients.  This Ginger Chicken from Thailand was a recipe I made and enjoyed from that book.

Of course if you know me, you already know I made a few changes to Mark Bittman's recipe.  I used my favorite Baby Bella (Crimini) mushrooms instead of Shitakes (which made the recipe a lot more budget-friendly.)  I also increased the sauce ingredients just a bit and substituted Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sweetener for sugar.  I also used small red chiles to season the oil but didn't keep them in the dish, which made it much less spicy.
A lot of flavors go into this dish including thinly sliced red onion (or shallots), sliced green onion, minced garlic, pureed ginger root, and dried red chiles.  Not shown are the Fish Sauce and fresh lime juice, which add to the Thai flavors in this recipe.

Cut two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Wash mushrooms if needed and cut into slices.

Cooking the dried chile in hot oil for a couple of minutes infuses the oil with chile flavor.

Remove chiles and then stir-fry the red onions for a couple of minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and cook about 30 seconds.

Then add the chicken and stir fry until it is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and green onions and cook about 2 minutes more.

Add the combined sauce ingredients (soy sauce, fish sauce, Stevia granulated, black pepper, and lime juice) and cook 2-3 minutes more until slightly thickened.  Season with salt if desired, and serve hot.

And here's the one-and-only original photo of this recipe from back in 2005, which shows you why I thought it needed an update.

Mark Bittman's Ginger Chicken
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe adapted from The Best Recipes in the World.)

Sauce Ingredients:
1-2 T soy sauce
1 T or slightly more Thai Fish Sauce (I like Three Crabs Fish Sauce)
2 tsp. Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or sugar
black pepper to taste
2 -3 T fresh lime juice

2 small red dried chiles
2 T peanut oil
2 shallots or one very small red onion, sliced thin, slices cut in fourths
1 T minced garlic
1 T grated ginger root
(Minced garlic in a jar or pureed ginger root in a jar will work in this recipe)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1/2 inch pieces (be careful to keep them small)
about 1 cup sliced fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms (or use Shitake mushrooms if you'd like)
1/4 cup sliced green onions

(If you're not that experienced with stir-frying, you might want to read this post on the Principles of Chinese Cooking before you cook this.)

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Soak dried chiles in boiling water a few minutes if desired.  Heat wok or large frying pan over high heat two minutes, add oil, heat 1 minute more, then add the chiles and stir fry 2-3 minutes and remove from the wok.

Add shallots or onions and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook just a few seconds, then add chicken and stir fry until all chicken has turned opaque and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and scallions and cook a few minutes more, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated.

Add the combined sauce mixture to the wok and cook 2-3 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened.  Taste, add salt if desired, and serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
This dish is great for the South Beach Diet, any phase, as long as you substitute Stevia in the Raw Granulated or Splenda for the sugar.  (Even if you use sugar, the amount of sugar in a serving would be very minimal. For phase two or three, this would taste great with Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
General Tso's Chicken ~ Appetite for China
Forbidden City Chicken ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Oyster Sauce ~ Cookin' Canuck
Grilled Fusion Chicken ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Szechwan Chicken Stir Fry ~ Barbara Bakes
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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 Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! 
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. This reciped looks great. But then anything from Thailand is great with me. PS...I took your Turkey roasting advice and it was AMAZING.

  2. So this will be a regular feature from now on? Sounds good! Do you ever watch his series on PBS?

  3. Lisa, I didn't know he was on PBS. I will have to check the schedule to see if it's on here. (I'm having a hard time tearing myself away from the computer to watch TV at all these days.)

  4. Thai dishes are absolutely delicious. I would love to go to Thailand one day but fear that i might come back 3 stone heavier! LOL

    You chicken looks and sounds delicious. I'm intrigued about this book... might check it out if they have in the bookstore here. If not, i'll just wait for your posts. he he.

  5. I'm delighted that you are going to make dishes from Bittman since I've recently heard much about him. I'm looking forward to your reviews and recipes

  6. Yum! I made this for lunch and am eating it as we speak. (No rice or anything.) Very delicious. I think I put a smidgen too much lime juice in it though. :) Wish I could have rice- would be so good with this.

  7. Sara, it's been so long that I've almost forgotten about this recipe. Glad you liked it!

  8. Looks like a recipe my family would enjoy too. Thanks for linking to my recipe. I should update that one too.

  9. Barbara, it's an endless job updating older posts isn't it?

  10. Kalyn, Thanks for re-sharing this recipe. Especially for re-sharing the photo. I am so often embarrassed by my old pictures and am mortified when people see them. But I also recognize that it's part of my blogging history and I need to embrace it. You've inspired me to go back and re-do some of my old recipes and share some of those old photos along with it. I bet it will be good for me to really see side-by-side how far I've come. Thank you!!!

  11. Cook the Story, I've been updating old posts with better photos for SIX YEARS NOW, and it's such a great feeling when you can transform a delicious-but-ugly recipe so it's more appealing. Have fun doing that.

  12. I am a Mark Bittman "groupie"! I love his style of easy cooking and big flavors. Your version of his Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms and Thai Flavors looks fantastic. I must try it soon.

  13. Kath, I have enjoyed so many of his recipes!

  14. This looks great! I bet some peanuts or cashews tossed in would be yummy as well.

  15. I love Mark Bittman and Thai food but have never tried this recipe - I'm with Val - I think nuts would be great on this.

  16. Sorry, I accidentally deleted this comment from Terry: This might be a dumb question but I am cooking for one -- can I refrigerate the leftovers and warm up the next couple of days? (I went out and bought a wok today just so I could try this recipe).

    Terry, you *can* warm it up, but I don't the quality will ever be as good as when it's freshly cooked. I'd probably cut the recipe in half and cook in two batches on different days.

  17. Update: I made it with cashews, and as suspected, it was great. :) I tossed in a couple of handfuls of raw cashews about a minute before adding the sauce. Served with brown rice and edamame (mixing up my Asian cuisines a bit) and it was delicious!

  18. This was delicious!! Wow, I can't believe how flavorful it was. We had some cashews on the side. I am low carb for diabetes and I had mine as is (hubby and kids had rice) with some roasted green beans on the side. We will DEFINITELY make this again! Thank you!

  19. Katharine, so glad you enjoyed it!


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