All cuisines have delicious dishes using pantry staples ingredients. For the Chinese, one such dish is this Chinese sausage and chicken in soy sauce. The main ingredients are chicken thigh, Chinese sausages, and dried shiitake mushrooms.
Most Chinese families usually stock packages of Chinese sausages, dried shiitake mushrooms, and dark soy sauce in their pantry cupboard. So this is an easy and convenient dish to prepare when I don’t have the time to do grocery shopping for fresh ingredients.
Ingredients for this chicken dish
To make this dish, we will need Chinese sausages, dried shiitake mushrooms, chicken meat (preferably thigh), garlic, scallions, dark soy sauce, sugar, ground pepper (preferably white pepper), water, and oil.
There are several varieties of Chinese sausages. For this dish, we want to use lap cheong (腊肠), a Cantonese style sausage made from pork and pork fat, sweetened and seasoned with rose water, rice wine, and soy sauce.
Chinese sausages are typically sold in plastic packaging. If you are in the US, the easiest and most available Chinese sausages are produced by Kam Yen Jan. You can store the sausages at room temperature when they are still vacuum-sealed in its original packaging, but please refrigerate any leftover once you open the packaging.
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Although you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms for this dish, I highly suggest sticking to dried shiitake mushrooms. I find that the flavor is at least 10x better when using dried mushrooms compared to fresh ones.
Dark soy sauce
Chinese dark soy sauce is different than regular soy sauce or Chinese light soy sauce. It has a thicker body, very dark color, and a slightly sweeter taste compared to regular/light soy sauce.
The main function of a dark soy sauce is to impart dark color to finished dishes, which you can’t achieve with a regular/light soy sauce.
If you don’t stock dark soy sauce in your pantry, you can still make this dish with your regular soy sauce or light soy sauce. The dish will still be tasty, it just won’t have that dark color, which should be fine.
Preparing Chinese sausage and dried shiitake mushrooms
How to prepare Chinese sausages
Please prepare a steamer over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling and the steamer has produced plenty of steam, steam the sausages in a steamer proof dish for 5 minutes. Remove from the steamer and then cut the steamed sausages into thin slices diagonally.
How to prepare dried shiitake mushrooms
Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in cold water overnight until soft and rehydrated. Gently squeeze the soaked mushrooms. Use a sharp knife to cut and discard the stems, then cut the mushroom caps into thin slices. Reserve the soaking liquid for the sauce.
Step-by-step to cooking this chicken dish
First, prepare the sauce by mixing 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup shiitake soaking liquid, 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon ground white pepper. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Add Chinese sausages and cook for 30 seconds, then add chicken and mushrooms and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Pour the sauce into the wok and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has reduced.
Turn off the heat and stir in half of the scallions and mix well.
Transfer the dish to a serving plate. Garnish with the remaining scallions. Serve with steamed white rice.
Other dishes using Chinese sausages
If you love this dish and want to use Chinese sausages to prepare other dishes, you can try the following recipes:
You can add thinly sliced Chinese sausage when cooking fried rice or fried noodles. I usually add about 1/4 sausage per serving when I prepare fried rice/noodles on top of the usual mixture of thinly sliced meat (chicken/beef/pork), eggs, and vegetables (mung bean sprouts, bok choy/yu choy, chives, and scallions).