My dad had the unfortunate job of getting his three kids up for school every morning. Thinking back, it was quite hilarious. He would wake us up, then go downstairs and make himself coffee while we fell back asleep. Fifteen minutes later, he would shout from downstairs, “Are you guys awake?”, and we, trying as hard as we could to sound awake and alert, would reply with something like, “Uhh, yeah…”. Of course we would then fall back asleep.
Henry, Annie, and I trained our half asleep ears to listen for dad’s footsteps as he ascended the stairs to check on us for a third time. As soon as we heard the floorboards creak, we would shoot out of bed like rockets and zip to the bathroom or start brushing our hair in front of the mirror.
Although we took our time getting out of bed, my dad made sure we were never late to school. He instilled punctuality and organization in us by gentle force and example, respectively. He would also never let us miss a day of school unless we were severely sick or highly contagious. In grade school, I collected perfect attendance awards like Pokemon cards.
On Saturday mornings, one of my and Annie’s favorite things to do was jumped into bed with the parents. During these morning calls, my dad would recite parables to us. I remember the day he told us about the boy who cried wolf. The morale of that story stuck to me like gum to a sneaker. My dad was the one who taught me my ABCs, and he was also the one who explained to me that outlets are not coinslots for pennies. The latter he did post hoc. And after my first heart crushing breakup, he told me that it broke his heart to see me cry.
My dad’s love for his family could consume the sun, and everyday I am so thankful for him.
Because yesterday was Father’s Day, I felt that a Papa Choi recipe would be very appropriate for this week’s post. But Papa Choi doesn’t use recipes, and when he cooks, he just mixes in a little bit of everything in the spice drawer. This recipe was inspired by his style of cooking, which is quick, easy, and very delicious!
There are four ingredients that always make an appearance in his dishes – garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and rice wine- and that’s because those ingredients are kept well stocked at home. I created a simple chicken stir-fry recipe that highlights those four ingredients.
This dish filled my kitchen with the rich smell of garlic and ginger. Rice wine, a common ingredient in Chinese dishes, gives this dish a deep and intense flavor, and it’s aroma alone is so lovely. Note that rice wine is not the same as rice wine vinegar!
Served with rice, this dish is the perfect weekday meal. It makes for great leftovers, and I couldn’t wait to have it again for lunch the next day.
- 2½ lbs chicken thighs, sliced into bite size pieces
- 2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 50 grams fresh ginger, peeled and julienned (sliced into short, thin strips)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup rice wine
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly sliced chives
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, sugar, ground white pepper, and cornstarch. Mix until incorporated, then set aside.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the ginger and cook for 2 minutes, until the ginger is light brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add the chicken, and increase the heat to high. Stirring constantly, cook the chicken for 3 minutes. Add the rice wine, then cook for another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the soy sauce, and cook for another 6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Plate the chicken, and sprinkle the chives over the top. Serve warm with rice.