Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 4 chicken thighs, OR 2 chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 6-8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced, or your own choice of mushrooms to equal 1-2 cups
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots or purple onion
- 2 thumb-size pieces galangal or ginger, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 fresh red or green chilies, or 1/4 to 3/4 tsp. chili flakes (1/4 tsp. = mild)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch powder dissolved in 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sherry
- handful fresh basil (or substitute fresh coriander)
- TAMARIND SAUCE:
- 2 tsp. Tamarind paste (Note: if you can’t find this at Asian stores, look for it at an Indian food store)
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 2+1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Place sliced chicken in a bowl and pour over the cornstarch and soy sauce mixture. Stir well to saturate chicken with the sauce. Set near the stove to marinate while you make the tamarind sauce.
- Make the tamarind sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients together in a cup (the tamarind paste and sugar should more or less dissolve in the water and fish sauce. If your paste is very thick, you may want to heat up the stock to help dissolve it). Also set near the stove.
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over high or medium-high heat. Drizzle in 2-3 Tbsp. oil, then add the garlic, ginger, and chicken (together with its cornstarch/soy sauce marinade).
- Stir-fry about 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is opaque when sliced through. Add a little sherry (1 Tbsp. at a time) as you stir-fry, whenever the pan starts to become dry.
- Add the mushrooms, plus start adding the tamarind sauce 2-3 Tbsp. at a time. Continue stir-frying in this way until all the sauce has been added and the chicken/mushrooms are cooked (4-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat. Now, very importantly, you need to taste-test and adjust the seasonings. What you’re looking for is a taste similar to “sweet & sour” – a pleasantly tangy flavor. You may have to add up to 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (instead of salt) and another Tbsp. or two of sugar in order to take the sour edge off the tamarind flavor, which is very strong, but excellent once balanced with sweet and salty flavors! This is a very individual kind of preference – if you like “sour”, you may not need to add more sugar. If the dish isn’t spicy enough for you, add a little more fresh chili (or chili sauce). If it turns out too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Note that the sourness factor also depends on how thick or strong your tamarind paste is.
- Serve with plenty of jasmine rice and fresh basil sprinkled over.