Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry
Published Feb 07, 2023
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Ginger chicken stir-fry is tender chicken simmered in a fragrant, savory ginger garlic sauce. Using just one pan, you can create layers of flavor in minutes. If you love fresh ginger, this dish is for you!
The irresistible Thai-inspired flavors in this ginger chicken stir-fry are all thanks to the sauce. That sauce combines tons of fresh ginger, sweet soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and the umami of fish sauce. This is a dish that instantly took me back to the years we lived in Thailand when some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten came from a wok at an unassuming street cart and were made in a matter of minutes.
The basic recipe below is only the beginning. Like any stir-fry, you can make it your own. Add vegetables like broccoli, red bell pepper, mushrooms, or whatever happens to be in the fridge. Swap out the chicken and use tofu or serve it over brown rice instead of jasmine.
Here’s everything you need to know to make this one!
How to Make Ginger Chicken
- Combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk until fully mixed.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the chicken and salt. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and stir until it coats the chicken.
- Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the chicken.
- Let the chicken cook undisturbed until it is golden brown on the bottom.
- Turn the chicken and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
- To the heated pan, add cooking oil and then onion and ginger. Cook until the onion softens.
- Pour the sauce over the onions, and simmer for 1 minute.
- Stir in the green onions and chicken, and simmer for 1 minute to coat in sauce.
- Serve over rice, and enjoy!
What Is velveting chicken for stir-fry?
One of the most asked questions when making a stir-fry at home is: how do you keep chicken juicy in stir-fry? All you need to do is “velvet” the chicken. Velveting chicken is an easy cooking technique used in Chinese recipes, like stir-fry. Cornstarch or flour is used to coat the chicken before it is added to a hot wok. The coating keeps the chicken juicy. The chicken is then partially cooked, removed from the pan, and then reintroduced into the dish towards the end to finish cooking.
- Garlic – Minced garlic brings depth and complexity.
- Water – For just the right consistency.
- Sweet Soy Sauce – Using an authentic sweet soy sauce makes all the difference in this recipe. You can find sweet soy sauce, which is commonly used in Thai cooking, in international grocery stores.
- Rice Vinegar – Adds a little sweetness and a little tanginess.
- “Thin” Soy Sauce – “Thin” soy sauces are sometimes called light soy sauces. You can use any type of soy sauce available at your local supermarket, including Japanese soy sauce.
- Sugar – Brings balance to the savoriness of this sauce.
- Fish Sauce – Salty, savory fish sauce is full of umami flavor.
- Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – One of the secrets to juicy stir-fry chicken is cutting the chicken breast into thin slices, instead of meaty chunks. Thin slices will cook more quickly and evenly.
- Kosher Salt – To season the ingredients.
- All Purpose Flour – All purpose flour coats the chicken to prevent it from drying out during the cooking process.
- Cooking Oil – Things get pretty hot in the wok, so you will want to use a cooking oil with a higher smoke point like avocado, grapeseed, vegetable, or peanut oil.
- Yellow Onion, Ginger, Green Onions – The aromatics to develop a fragrant base layer in the stir-fry. You can either peel and slice the ginger in thin matchsticks or finely mince it.
- Cooked Jasmine Rice – Jasmine rice is fragrant, fluffy, and doesn’t clump together, it’s perfect for stir-fry.
- Be careful not to cook the chicken all the way when you add it to the pan. Partially cooking the meat, and then reintroducing the chicken slices towards the end will keep the chicken juicy and full of flavor.
- The hardest part of prepping this recipe is slicing the ginger thin enough that it will be enjoyable to eat in the stir-fry. Be sure to use a sharp knife and to take your time with this step.
- Change the protein – Tofu, pork, or beef can be swapped for chicken.
- Add extra veggies – Red bell peppers, carrots, peas, broccoli, mushrooms, and bok choy will add their own unique flavors to this dish. Use a few different veggies for a mix of textures and colors.
- Make spicy stir-fry – Add a little chili oil or red pepper flakes for a spicy ginger chicken stir-fry.
The perfect long grain white rice for stir-fry dishes is cooked jasmine rice. Its light fragrance highlights the flavors in the dish and it is the right shape and texture to soak sauces.
Stir-fry recipes freeze so well, and they’re really easy to reheat. Make sure the stir-fry is completely cool, and then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Label with the date, and store for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to thaw the stir-fry, transfer the container to the refrigerator where it will thaw overnight, and then reheat in a wok or skillet. You may need to add a touch of oil to the pan to prevent the ingredients from sticking.
More easy Thai Recipes
- Easy Pad Thai
- Thai Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry
- Thai Tofu Satay Bowls
- Thai Chicken Meatballs in Coconut Curry
- Thai Rice and Meatball Soup
Favorite Tools for Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok – This affordable wok is the only one I use. I’ve had it for 10+ years and the only care it needs is to be washed out, dried well, and rubbed with oil before storing.
- Wok Spatula – This spatula fits perfectly around the curved edges of a wok.
- Splatter Screen – Perfect for keeping your stovetop (reasonably) clean.
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Thai Ginger Chicken Recipe
- Mixing bowl or small jar
- Wok or Large Skillet
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon 'thin' soy sauce (any type of soy sauce, including Japanese soy sauce, will work here)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cooking oil (like avocado, grapeseed, vegetable, or peanut oil)
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1/3 cup ginger, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks (or 2 tablespoons finely minced)
- cooked jasmine rice, for serving
- Combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk very well (or shake in a jar with a lid) until all bits of cornstarch are mixed in.
- Stir together chicken and salt. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and stir until it evenly coats the chicken.
- Set all of the ingredients near the stove.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken. Let the chicken cook without stirring until it is golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and continue cooking until it is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate or bowl.
- If the wok looks dry, add some additional cooking oil. To the heated oil, add the yellow onion and ginger and cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Pour the sauce over the onions. Bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for 1 minute.
- Stir in the green onions and chicken. Simmer everything together for 1 minute to coat in sauce.
- Serve over rice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.