Summer has arrived in Ireland at last. The temperatures are heading for 30 degrees. While in China they dial up the chilli heat when the temperature and humidity rise, here in the drier heat of Ireland I find myself reaching for a simpler, lighter dish with lots of vegetables that’s good to enjoy outside on a balmy evening.

This is a Cantonese style recipe that was submitted as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations back in early February by the New Millennium Restaurant in the city centre of Dublin – the restaurant is just along from the Gaiety Theatre –  I’ve adapted it slightly to include Pickled Shitake Mushroom prepared to a recipe given to me by Tom Walsh, Chef  at Samphire at the Waterside, Donabate.

The pickled mushrooms are yet another ingredient that you can make up a batch of to have in your  fridge or store cupboard along with Tom Chef’s Chilli Jam and Homemade Chilli Oil. So far I’ve discovered these mushrooms work well with steak marinaded in a soy based chinese sauce and griddled on the barbecue, mixed in with a duck noodle salad or on the side with oven roasted whole duck or duck breast.

This simple, non-spicy supper dish will tickle your taste buds and go a long way to meeting your 5-a-day vegetable intake.

Stir-fried Chicken with Pickled Shitake Mushrooms

Chicken with Celery and Mushrooms – photo courtesy of New Millennium Restaurant

Serves 2 to 3


  • 2 large or 3 small chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • ½  to 1 tsp salt
  • ¼  to 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, each  sliced into 5 pieces
  • 6-8 large stalks celery thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • ½ a large carrot, sliced on the diagonal into thin slices
  • 4 thin slices of ginger, peeled from a thumb of ginger
  • 5 or 6 pieces of canned bamboo shoot
  • About 8 thick slices of Tom Chef’s Pickled Shitake Mushrooms, drained (see below)
  • 150 ml boiling water
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs of Shaoxing cooking wine
  • About 1 tsp sesame oil

Preparation and cooking:

  1. Cut the chicken across the grain into thin strips.
  2. Mix with egg white, cornflour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper and soy sauce until smooth. Set aside while you organise the remaining ingredients.
  3. Heat about 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add all of the coated chicken strips and the garlic to the wok. Cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken pieces turn golden making sure not to burn the garlic. Transfer to a plate. 
  4. Reheat the wok over a high heat. Add the celery, carrots, ginger and 150 ml boiling water and boil fast for 30 seconds to blanch the vegetables – you want to soften the vegetables slightly but keep their crunch  – then strain and set aside on a plate. 
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of groundnut oil in the wok over a high heat. Return the chicken strips and vegetables to the wok along with the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until heated through.
  6. Add the oyster sauce, sugar and Shaoxing cooking wine and cook for about 1 more minute until bubbling. Season to taste with remaining salt and pepper if necessary (I usually find the salt content of the soy sauce is sufficient seasoning) and add a little sesame oil to taste.
  7. Serve immediately with plain boiled rice.

Tom Chef’s Pickled Shitake Mushrooms

Tom Chef’s Pickled Shitake Mushrooms


  • 1kg fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
  • 500ml Chinese white rice wine vinegar (or ordinary white wine vinegar)
  • 250 ml bottled still water
  • 200g castor sugar
  • a few star anise
  • A few cloves
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme


  1. Simply boil  all the pickle ingredients except the mushrooms.
  2. Chill the pickle then add the sliced mushrooms.
  3. Leave to infuse, covered over night, then store in sterilised kilner jars in the fridge until needed.

Quick Tips:

If you haven’t time to make the pickled shitake mushrooms, use a few canned straw mushrooms drained and sliced or a handful of dried shitake mushrooms soaked for about 20 minutes in hot water, then drained, the moisture squeezed out of them, stem removed and thickly sliced.

You will get canned bamboo shoots in most supermarket – Blue Dragon is a reliable brand – and the leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the fridge. Canned straw mushrooms are available in the Asia Market.

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