Sometimes you spot an ingredient, so unusual and intriguing that you simply must have it. And hold it. I sighed loudly and must have given the customers browsing the mushroom shelf every reason to roll their eyes at me.  The golden enoki mushroom, a huge and ethereal mass of delicate amber threads was imported from South Korea.  I try my utmost to buy local fresh produce and only cook with non-perishable foreign ingredients that I’ve purchased myself on travels, mostly. Unless it’s soy sauce or wasabi or….well, you know what what I mean.

Anyhow, the golden enoki from South Korea came home in my shopping bag, and did a gangnam style move on my taste buds in the kitchen. The mushroom is nutty and floral and I knew would benefit from as little cooking as possible. Just a quick saute in a hot pan with a splash of peanut oil.

Together with chicken, red chilli and pak choi I made a stir fry and added fresh papaya slices at the end – the smooth, cooling fruit added a fresh honey-sweetness that complimented the chilli. The dish is lightening quick to make but the combination of textures and flavours makes it feel a lot more complex. This stir fry is crunchy, spicy, nutty (from the enoki) and sweet.

Use any exotic mushrooms and baby spinach will also do if you can’t get pak choi.


Serves 2

2 T peanut oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly

1 red Thai chilli, sliced

1 t fresh ginger, grated

1 clove garlic, sliced

2  small heads bok choi

1 cup broccoli or fine beans, sliced

3/4 cup golden enoki mushrooms or 1 cup exotic mushrooms, sliced * prepare enoki by slicing 2cm off base and dividing into small bundles or pulling each thread separate like I did*

1 salad onion (or 3/4 spring onion) finely sliced

6 slices papaya

soy sauce, to taste


1. In a medium-large sized pan or wok on medium-high heat, add the peanut oil, the chicken and red chilli and fry, stirring for a minute and a half.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and broccoli and stir around for 2 -3 minutes.

3. Add soy sauce and stir through. Turn the heat down to medium and add the bok choi and enoki mushrooms. Cook for less than a minute, stirring through. The chicken should be cooked through by now. Toss in the spring onions and remove from heat. *note you may want to add other, less delicate mushrooms, earlier at step 2)

4. Toss into a serving bowl and add slices of papaya.  Serve with more soy sauce and extra sliced red chilli if you like and enjoy.


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