Last week I was craving for Khmer food so as usual I scrounged around our kitchen to look for ingredients I could use. In particular, I was looking to make some Cha Kn’yay (literally, fried ginger), a ginger-based stir-fry that I love. Fortunately I found lots of ginger, enough spring onions, and some chicken thigh fillet in the pantry and refrigerator. This is a very easy dish to make; only the preparation takes the most time especially if you’re doing the slicing by hand (like me). In Cambodia, thinly-sliced ginger can be found in the markets & supermarkets. I had no objections to using these prepared ginger. But my housekeeper preferred making it herself to ensure freshness and maximum flavor.
Within minutes, the kitchen was redolent with the scent of ginger and my mother got curious about what I was cooking. I tweaked the recipe a bit, to adjust to my family’s palate, but this is still Khmer food at its simplest and tastiest. Don’t be put off by the seemingly excessive amount of ginger. It’s all good, promise.
- 250 grams boneless chicken meat (breast or thigh fillet)
- 2/3 cup ginger, sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup spring onion, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt & pepper, to taste
- oil for stir-frying
- Slice chicken meat into strips. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Heat oil on a wok and fry ginger until it is close to being toasted. You don’t want it burned, but it should be on the crispy side. Set aside.
- Stir-fry onions, garlic, and chicken for about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce. After about a minute, add the ginger and brown sugar. If it is a bit dry, add some water.
- After 2 minutes, add the spring onion and soy sauce. In the last minute of cooking, add the oyster sauce and stir well. Serve hot with rice.
By the way, pork can also be used in this recipe. Pork belly is nice but the fat prohibits me from recommending it to you. Use tenderloin instead. Just slice it into strips as well.
If you’re making this, do let me know how it turns out, okay?