Ray Lee’s Chicken and Choy Sum

Ray Lee’s Chicken and Choy Sum

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal.


12 ounces boneless chicken breast with skin
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
23⁄4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
11⁄2 teaspoons black soy sauce
2 tablespoons egg white, beaten
6 ounces choy sum
1 cup chicken broth
7 slices ginger
4 small garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon salt


1. Remove the skin from the chicken and set aside a 2-inch-square piece. Cut the chicken into 1⁄4-inch-thick bite-sized slices. In a bowl combine the chicken, rice wine, 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch, the 2 teaspoons oil, the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the black soy sauce, and the egg white. Marinate uncovered in the refrigerator 11⁄2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and set at room temperature 30 minutes.

2. Trim the tops and stems of the choy sum by 1⁄4 inch. Bring 1⁄2 cup of the broth to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan with 3 slices of the ginger and 1 garlic clove. Add the choy sum, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and blanch 1 minute. Drain the choy sum in a colander and discard the broth, ginger, and garlic. In a small bowl combine the oyster sauce, salt, and the remaining 1⁄2 cup broth, 3⁄4 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1⁄2 teaspoon black soy sauce.

3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 4 slices ginger and 3 garlic cloves. Carefully add the chicken, spreading it evenly in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to brown. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides and is just cooked through. Transfer to a platter. Rinse the wok and dry it thoroughly.

4. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok. Add the reserved chicken skin and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add the blanched choy sum and stir-fry 10 seconds. Stir the oyster sauce mixture, swirl it into the wok, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over the chicken, discarding the browned chicken skin.

Recipe excerpted from The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young and Alan Richardson. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.