Easy Chinese stir-fried chicken hearts with mushrooms
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Easy Chinese stir-fried chicken hearts with mushrooms

1 hour
to soak the mushrooms

Susan says

People who dislike innards aren’t necessarily logical or consistent about their distaste. Why is liver fine (and some like only foie gras but won't eat veal or chicken liver) but heart is not? Some are OK with sweetbreads but horrified at the thought of eating lung or kidney.

Each type of innard has its own texture (one of the reasons I like them) and they are usually more strongly flavoured than other types of meat (another plus). Other reasons to seek them out: they tend to be economical (well, not foie gras or sweet­breads) and score highly in the ethics of not wasting food. After all, if you are going to kill an animal for food, the whole thing should be eaten, not just the prime cuts.

You can make this with chicken hearts only or with a combination of hearts, gizzards and livers.

4-6, depending on size
dried shiitake mushrooms
450g (16oz)
chicken hearts (or hearts, gizzards and livers)
lap cheong (air-dried Chinese sausages)
1 thin slice
fresh ginger, peeled
garlic cloves, peeled
red banana chillies, or another type of long, mild chilli
spring onions
10ml (2tsp)
light soy sauce
10ml (2tsp)
rice wine
granulated sugar
fine sea salt
a pinch
ground white pepper
10ml (2tsp)
cooking oil

Rinse the mushrooms briefly under running water, then put them in a bowl of cold water and leave for about three hours, or until fully hydrated, turning them over occasionally. 


If using only chicken hearts, squeeze them so any blood inside is extracted. If also using other innards, discard any tough parts from the gizzards, then cut them in half; and separate the two lobes of the liver and cut away any connective tissue and visible veins.


Squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms, then cut off and discard the stems. Slice the caps about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Slice the lap cheong and banana chillies on the diagonal into pieces about 5mm (¼in) thick. Thinly slice the garlic. Cut the spring onions into 4cm (1½in) lengths.


In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sea salt and pepper. Put the cornstarch into another small bowl and add about 50ml (3tbsp and 1tsp) of the liquid used to soak the mushrooms.


instructions image

Heat a wok over a high flame and when it’s hot, add about 10ml (2tsp) of cooking oil. Swirl the wok so the surface is lightly coated with oil. Add the ginger, garlic and banana chillies and stir-fry for about 15 seconds. Add the spring onion, stir briefly to coat with the oil, then remove the ingredients from the wok.


Heat the wok again over a high flame and add the lap cheong. Cook, stirring occasion­ally, until the pieces are lightly browned. Add the chicken hearts (or hearts, gizzards and liver) and stir-fry until the ingredients start to lose their pink colour. Add the sliced mushrooms then pour in the soy sauce/rice wine season­ing mixture, stir briefly, and scrape the ingredients to the centre of the wok. Turn the flame to low, cover the wok with the lid and simmer for several minutes, or until the innards are almost fully cooked, stirring occasionally.


Remove the lid and turn the flame to high. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onion back into the wok and mix briefly. Stir the cornstarch and soaking liquid mixture and drizzle about half 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.


Scoop the ingredients onto a serving plate and serve with steamed white rice and stir-fried green vegetables.


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