April 19th, 2024

Ess, Ess/ Eat, Eat!

This garlicky-ginger chicken stir-fry can go mild or wild

Bonnie S. Benwick

By Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post

Published April 1, 2024

This garlicky-ginger chicken stir-fry can go mild or wild
Washington Post photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Americans' taste for spicy and hot foods seems to be on the uptick. But when you possess a sensitive palate or digestive tract, or you are cooking for someone who does, a flexible recipe - and healthful! - that tastes good at both mild and wild ends of the spectrum makes things easy.

This stir-fry is a pantry-friendly way to go. Its classic ginger-garlic combination gives the dish enough flavor on its own; as soon as the green beans are warmed through, you can serve a portion as is. For those who can take the heat, your subsequent add-in options are many: a squirt of Sriracha, a dash of sweet chili sauce, hot sauce or chili-infused honey or a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes among them.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are called for here because they are less expensive than boneless, skinless thighs and you will be able to stockpile bones and skin for making wonderful things like chicken soup and fried chicken skins. But if you already have the latter on hand, you will save a step.

Serve with rice or rice noodles. You can chop up any leftovers for making fried rice.

Ginger-Garlic Chicken With Green Beans

MAKES: 2-3 servings

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8 ounces frozen green beans
3 or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or more as needed
1/2 cup water 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Place the green beans in paper towel so they defrost a bit.

Pull the skin from the chicken; freeze or discard it. Use a sharp knife to cut the flesh away from the bone; freeze the bones for making stock at another time. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Coarsely chop the onion. Smash, peel and mince the garlic. Use a spoon to scrape away the skin of the ginger root, then grate or mince the ginger to yield at least 2 teaspoons (the more, the better!).

Cut the green beans into 1-inch lengths.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil shimmers, swirl it around to coat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger; stir-fry for about 40 seconds, just until fragrant, and then add the chicken pieces. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes or until they have taken on some color and are almost cooked through.

Add the green beans and soy sauce; stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the water. Cover and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then uncover, drop in the basil leaves and season lightly with salt and pepper.

At this point, the flavor will be mild. Taste, and add more soy sauce, as needed. Serve your guests who like it that way, and then season what is left in the pan with a spicy component before dishing out the rest.