Chinese Stir-Fried Chicken Hearts with Shiitake and Vegetables (Chicken Thigh Option)

Contains:  Offal, nightshades, legumes (soy), a small amount of alcohol.  Is:  Quick and Easy, can be made gluten-free, paleo.

You can add in gizzards and even liver to this should you care to.  (Personally, I’d go for gizzards, chopped up, rather than liver.)   OR you could simply use one good-sized boneless-skinless chicken thigh per every two people.

chicken hearts, recipe, shiitake, eggplant, aubergine, snow peas, onion, thai basil, cilantro, recipe, Chinese

If you have one, I’d recommend using a wok.  However here the ONLY disadvantage to an induction cooktop is that it is not really wok-friendly.  Yes, there are wok-look-alike skillets one can purchase that fulfill the aesthetics, but not the function.  I try to go with cast iron skillets when a wok is called for.   Or maybe work on the grill, with a regular wok – something I should get around to doing!

You could use Chinese pork sausage instead of the bacon, for the flavor.  Making a note to buy some of the authentic thing next time I drive towards an Asian market.  (This time, logistics is settling for the bacon – the nearest Asian market is at least an hour away.)

Poblano chilis are not found in Asian cuisine, but since I wanted a mildly spiced pepper, I had to go with this.  Ideally, something like an Asian banana chili would work.  And should one be in the mood, hot Thai peppers  could be substituted.  For color, one could also add some red bell pepper.

chicken hearts, recipe, shiitake, eggplant, aubergine, snow peas, onion, thai basil, cilantro, recipe, Chinese

The bed of rice…

This recipe uses Chinese eggplant (aubergine) and snow peas.  You can go with a lot of options here –  bean sprouts, water chestnut, thin-sliced and soaked lotus root, a small bit of tree fungi (reconstituted), even some bitter melon should you choose.

I meant to velvet the dish but forgot to do so.  I’d recommend it.  Velveting is the process by which you combine starch with some of the cooking liquid in order to thicken it, and give the meats and veggies a more glossy appearance.  Corn starch is most prevalent as a thickener, but tapioca or arrowroot starch is often used.

If you prefer to be alcohol-free, use half the amount of rice vinegar with the rest of the volume as water, instead of any rice wine.

recipe, chicken hearts, Chinese, shiitake, eggplant, aubergine, rice

Prep Time:  30 minutes, not counting soaking.
Cook Time: 
20 minutes.

Rest Time: None.
Serves:  2.
Cuisine:  Chinese.
Leftovers:  Yes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Chicken Hearts with Shiitake and Vegetables


  • Around 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms.
  • Optional:  1-2 slices lotus root, 1 dried tree fungus (tree ear).
  • 1 small onion, diced.
  • Around 8 ounces/225 grams chicken hearts (adding in gizzards and/or livers is optional).  Or, use one large boneless, skinless chicken thigh, chopped (Two, if small).  
  • 3 strips of cooked crispy bacon, drained.
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger, or 1-2 teaspoons of ginger paste.
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, minced. 
  • 1 red banana chilies or another type of long mild chili, chopped.  (Substitute with a small poblano, de-stemmed and de-seeded, and chopped.  Another option is 1-2 deseeded Thai chili peppers, if you wish to ante up the heat.)
  • 10 ml / 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce.  (For gluten-free, you will probably substitute tamari.  For Paleo as well, use coconut aminos.)
  • 5 ml / 1 teaspoon rice wine. 
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder. 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Szechwan pepper.  
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt.
  • Pinch of ground pepper.  White is traditionally used in much of Chinese cooking.
  • For optional Velveting:  2 teaspoons corn starch (If using tapioca or arrowroot, the ratio to liquid for velveting as described below for corn may change)
  • Vegetables:  I used 1 elongated Asian eggplant (aubergine), a handful of snow peas (large ones snapped in half), 
  • 5 ml/1 teaspoon cooking oil.
  • Fresh Thai basil, fresh cilantro (as desired).  
  • Separately prepared rice, for serving, plus one or two scallions/green onion, coarsely chopped.  


Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms (and, if using, the lotus slices, and the tree fungi) in tepid tap water, until fully hydrated.  Make sure they are fully submerged.  This will take around 1-3 hours.  

The chicken hearts do not need to be cut up.  Remove any large exterior pieces of fat with kitchen scissors.  If also using gizards, discard any tough parts and then cut them in quarters.   If you prefer to use the chicken thigh instead, remove any fatty tissue prior to chopping.

At this point, you should start the rice in a rice cooker, or a separate pot, via the rice package instructions or by your standard methods.

Prepare all the ingredients for cooking.

Remove the mushrooms from the hydrating water (reserve 50 ml / 3.3 tablespoons of this liquid for VELVETTING, if you choose.  Reserve any additional for another dish), and manually squeeze remaining water from the mushrooms.  If there are stems, remove and discard, they will never get tender.  Take the caps and slice about 5mm / 0.25 inch thick. Peppers can be chopped about 5mm / 0.25 inch thick. as well; if using poblano or bell, you can chop them thicker.   Break up the cooked bacon.  

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, Chinese five spice, Szechwan pepper, sugar, salt and pepper. 

Using a heavy duty wok or skillet, turn the heat up to high/medium high, then add a couple teaspoons of cooking oil.  Swirl so that your working surface is coated.  Add the onion and allow to soften, stirring as needed.  Then add the ginger, garlic and chilis, stir frying for about 16-20 seconds.   Remove ingredients and set them aside.

To the still-hot wok, add the Chinese sausage (should you be using), and allow these to brown slightly.  Then add the chicken pieces (offal or otherwise), and continue to stir, another three-five minutes.  Now, add the mushrooms, the bacon, and any other vegetables you wish to use.  Add the contents of the soy sauce seasoning bowl.  Mix this, and (if using a wok) push everything to the bottom, and cover.  Turn heat to a simmer.  Allow to cook with an occasional stirring, until the chicken is nearly fully cooked.

VELVETING:  It’s optional but authentic.  Put the cornstarch into a small bowl; add the reserved 50 mL of mushroom soaking liquid.  Stir into a lump-less slurry. It may help to heat the liquid slightly first.  

At this point, remove the lid, and return your heat to high.  Add that ginger, garlic, and chili back to the wok, mixing quickly.

VELVETING:  Stir the cornstarch and soaking liquid mixture and drizzle about a third of it into the wok and mix well. The sauce should lightly coat the ingre­di­ents; if it’s too thin, drizzle in more of the cornstarch mixture.

Taste for seasonings and adjust, if needed.

Remove from heat, and add fresh Thai basil and/or cilantro leaves + stems, gently mixing these in. , then serve over a bed of rice on individual plates – top the rice with the spring onion before adding the stir fried foods.  Enjoy!

chicken hearts, recipe, shiitake, eggplant, aubergine, snow peas, onion, thai basil, cilantro, recipe, Chinese

I grew up in the days when chickens in supermarkets were sold with their innards.  Mother (and Dad) cooked with all parts.  That little morsel, the heart, quickly became my favorite part.  I never knew that I was supposed to turn up my nose and go all cancel culture on offal.

One of my absolute favorite types of offal is the heart, no matter from what animal – probably tying with the tongue (which really doesn’t make that dish “tongue-tied”)…. 
In the past, I have posted about Japanese chicken heart yakatori
and Brazilian chicken heart Churrasco skewers,
both of which are authentic uses of poultry hearts in those respective countries.
There is also a sous vide turkey heart recipe on this blog.
and you can also add that last item to Mom’s Turkey Giblet Gravy recipe.

Finding sufficient chicken hearts:   If you raise chickens for meat, you can store them up.  Or you can contact a local farmer, perhaps at a farmer’s market.  I procured these at a store a few towns away that keeps packs of these frozen – the place specializes in poultry.

Much as I love my cat, I hate the concept of these being ground up into pet food!

This recipe is shared with:

Fiesta Friday.
What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up.
Homestead Blog Hop.
Full Plate Thursday.

About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
This entry was posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Mushrooms, Offal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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