Thai Tamarind Chicken Stir-Fry

Thai Tamarind Chicken Stir Fry

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
354 Calories
20g Fat
16g Carbs
31g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 354
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 1796mg 78%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 56mg 281%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 637mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Most Thai recipes are a combination of sweet, sour, and spicy, and this recipe is the epitome of this flavor combination. You can choose to make the dish mild (without chiles), and it will still turn out wonderful and rich-tasting. Stir-fried with plenty of fresh shiitake mushrooms, this savory chicken dish will satisfy even the biggest of appetites.

Just serve with rice, and you have a complete, flavorful, and nutritious meal. For a beverage, why not enjoy a Thai iced tea or coffee?


For the Chicken Stir-Fry:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 (2-inch) pieces galangal, or ginger cut into matchstick pieces

  • 2 tablespoons sherry

  • 6 to 8 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

  • 5 to 8 fresh basil, or cilantro leaves

  • Steamed Thai jasmine rice, optional, for serving

​​For the Tamarind Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 to 2 medium fresh green or red chiles, or 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon chile flakes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai tamarind chicken stir-fry ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place sliced chicken in a bowl. Dissolve the cornstarch in the soy sauce and pour over. Stir well to saturate the chicken with the sauce. Set aside to marinate while you make the tamarind sauce.

    Chicken with sauce in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Make the tamarind stir-fry sauce by mixing the tamarind paste, chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, and chiles in a small bowl.

    Tamarind paste, chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, and chiles in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high or medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil then add the garlic, galangal or ginger, and the chicken along with the marinade.

    Drizzle in the oil, then add the garlic, galangal or ginger, and the chicken along with the marinade into wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Stir-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until chicken is opaque when sliced through. Add a little sherry (1 tablespoon at a time) as you stir-fry whenever the pan starts to become dry.

    Chicken cooking in a wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the mushrooms, then start adding the tamarind sauce 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time. Continue stir-frying in this way until all the sauce has been added and the chicken and mushrooms are cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes.

    Thai tamarind chicken stir-fry cooking in a wok

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove from heat and serve with fresh basil sprinkled over and plenty of Thai jasmine rice.

    Thai tamarind chicken stir-fry over rice

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • The use of low- or no-sodium chicken stock is to prevent the dish from being too salty, given that soy sauce that is already added to the dish. By using a no-salt-added chicken stock, you can better control the final salt and seasoning level of the finished dish. If you only have regular stock on hand, we recommend cutting back the soy sauce to 2 tablespoons to start and adjusting with more as needed.
  • It is very important that you taste test and adjust the seasonings. This is all about preference—if you like sour, you may not need to add more sugar. If the dish isn't spicy enough for you, add a little more fresh chile (or ​chili sauce). If it turns out too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Note that the sourness factor also depends on how thick or strong your tamarind paste is.

Recipe Variations

  • In addition to the mushrooms (or in place of them), add your choice of vegetables to this stir-fry. Spring onions, snow peas, and bell peppers are all tasty options.
  • Enjoy rice noodles instead of jasmine rice with this dish.

The Flavors of Thai Cuisine

When you are served a typical Thai meal, you will enjoy all five main flavors—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and of course, spicy.