Stir-Fry Chicken with Braising Greens

by Sep 2, 2016

“Braising greens” is a culinary term that refers to any mix of sturdy greens that taste best with a flash of cooking, rather than raw, like lettuces. Typical mixes include mustard greens, baby chard or beet greens, tatsoi, pretty purple leaves, whatever the farmer feels like planting and picking.


Stir-frying is my favorite way to wilt braising greens—quick, hot cooking that brings out sweetness and brightens the colors. I learned from a Hong Kong chef, Cecilia Jennie Au-Yang, auntie of a long ago friend, Marianna. Marianna, Joyce, and I met at work, when we were “turning a quarter century!” <gasp> and Oracle was a startup. Marianna was always giving presents, and when her auntie’s book was published, she gave copies to Joyce and I.


Chopsticks Gourmet Collection, 198 Hong Kong recipes in full colour feels like it came from the early 1960’s, pages filled with glistening platters of food styled formally with open jars lying on their sides, raw ingredients arranged just so around the platters. When the three of us decided to cook dinner from the book, I shied from the sea cucumbers, black moss, konjac jelly, and chose “Shredded Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce” for my dish. A safe and perhaps unadventurous pick, but it taught me how to stir fry.




Stir-Fry Chicken with Braising Greens

adapted from Cecilia Jennie Au-Yang, Chopsticks Gourmet Collection

Servings 4


  • 2 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless, sliced thinly (¼-inch) across the grain
  • 1–2 tbsp high-heat cooking oil for stir frying


  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and grated
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
  • 1 tbsp wine Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Stir-Fry Sauce

  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 6 green onions, white part minced and greens cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 shallots, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, cut into plank-like slices for flavor only, do not eat
  • 2 hot chile peppers, red or green, julienned optional, seeds and core removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced and mashed with ¼ teaspoon salt
  • several handfuls of braising greens

For serving: cooked rice


  1. Mix marinade in a medium glass or ceramic bowl, add chicken slices, and allow to sit at room temperature for 45–60 minutes.

  2. Mix stir-fry sauce ingredients in small glass measuring cup or bowl, set aside. Heat wok over high heat and add a tablespoon or so of high temperature cooking oil. Add chicken and spread out so that each piece is touching part of the hot wok. Leave chicken alone to cook for a couple minutes before you start moving things around. Stir-fry the chicken until it is cooked to your liking, about 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside on a plate.

  3. Pour another tablespoon of oil in the wok, heat, then add the white part of the green onions, shallot, ginger and optional chiles. Stir-fry and let cook until softened, a couple minutes. Add the garlic. Add the greens of the green onions and the braising greens. Add the stir-fry sauce and stir-fry until vegetables are tender, another couple minutes. Add the reserved chicken and combine. Serve immediately over hot rice.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • Freezing meet for 30–45 minutes makes slicing easier.  
  • When in San Francisco, buy a wok. Seek out one made from hammered, carbon steel, the bigger the better. Best place to buy: an authentic Chinese market, where a great one will probably cost you $20.
  • Make ahead note: Mix the marinade and the stir-fry sauce the morning (or night) before you want to cook. You can also get the chicken sliced and marinating the morning (or night) before. Keep the sliced chicken refrigerated until about an hour before you want to cook. It is best to cook meat starting from room temperature instead of straight out of the chiller.

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