Chicken and Kale with Oyster Sauce
It may not be commonly used in Chinese cooking, but kale is a fantastic ingredients to stir-fry with. It cooks quickly and doesn’t release much moisture when it cooks, so it stops the common home-cooking problem of have a wet, stewing wok rather than one that is frying on high heat.
1 bunch kale, washed
440g boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra if needed
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp Shaoxing wine
about ½ cup water or stock
1 tsp cornflour mixed with a little of the water or stock
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Prepare the kale by removing the thick stalks from the leaves with a knife and tearing the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Slice the chicken into large pieces (about 6 pieces per thigh) and combine with the marinade ingredients.
Heat your wok over high heat and pour the oil around the sides of the wok. Add the onion and garlic and toss for a minute or two until the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the onion and garlic from the wok and add it to the kale, leaving as much oil in the wok as possible (although you can add more oil to the wok if there is too little remaining).
Return the wok to the heat, and when the oil is hot add the chicken. Fry for about 3 minutes until browned but not yet cooked through. Add the kale, onion and garlic to the wok and toss to coat the kale in the oil. As the kale starts to wilt, add the oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and a few tablespoons of water or stock. Toss for a further 2 minutes until the kale is softened, adding more water or stock if needed to form a thick sauce to coat the chicken and kale. If the liquid is looking too thin, add a little of the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce to a consistency that coats the chicken. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
- Don’t cut the garlic too small, or it will burn and have a bitter flavour.
- This will work well with pork or beef, too.
Hi Adam! Can you use sake or rice wine in replacement of Shaoxing? Thanks!
Yes. You could also use sherry.
I notice that your recipe says to use corn flour. On your YouTube video, near the end, you thicken the sauce using “corn starch” I purchased corn flour to make home made tortillas. It’s not the same as corn starch. I’m confused. Should I use cornstarch or corn flour? Thanks!
Merrilee Miller – Goleta, CA
The corn flour you bought (maise flour) to make tortillas is very different from corn starch (corn flour in Australia).
Americans can easily be confused by Australians interchanging the terms of ‘corn flour’ and ‘corn starch’.
Don’t use maise flour in any asian inspired dish to thicken sauces or coat meat.
I’ll answer this, since I think I understand and question. If I’m wrong, I hope that Adam will correct me!
You use corn flour to coat the chicken pieces before stir frying them. According to Adam, the corn flour aids in browning the chicken.
Near the end of the stir fry process, you make a slurry of corn starch and water, adding some of it to the wok to thicken the liquid that has formed in the wok from the chicken and kale, oyster sauce and wine. There won’t be much liquid, and Adam is not specific about how much slurry to add, and it should thicken prettifying quickly; watch the consistency and take the pan off the heat when the thickness suits you.
Hello Merrilee, Since Adam has not answered your question, I’ll try to do so. If I’m wrong about any of it, I hope he will jump in with corrections.
In this recipe, corn flour is used to coat the chicken prior to cooking. Adam says that it helps the chicken to brown as it cooks.
Corn starch is used near the end of the stir fry to thicken the juices that have accumulated in the pan from the oyster sauce, chicken, kale and whatever water has been added. You will mix 1tsp. of cornstarch with a little water (I usually use about 1 Tbsp.) to form a slurry. Just before taking the pan off the flame, stir a little of the slurry into the pan. This is not an exact science, since you should not have a lot of liquid in the pan at this point. Watch the mixture carefully. It should thicken pretty quickly. Take the pan off the fire when the consistency looks right to you.
In Australia, corn flour is what corn starch is in the USA. This recipe therefore requires what you would refer to as corn starch.