Coming from Zhejiang province in China, I grew up with Chinese red braised (红烧) dishes. During autumn and winter, braised chicken with chestnut was seen quite often on our dinner table, and the dish has actually become part of my childhood memory.
Consisting of umami rich chicken pieces and tender, subtly sweet chestnuts, this traditional Chinese dish is utterly delicious and comforting!
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
- 250-300 g chicken thigh, cut into smaller chunks
- 150-200g fresh chestnut after shell
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2-3 scallions, cut into 1.5-inch chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2tbs rice wine or cooking wine
- 1to 1 1/2 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tsb dark soy sauce
- 5-10 g Chinese rock sugar or regular sugar
- water or unsalted chicken stock
- 1 chili pepper (optional)
Heat about 1/2 tbs oil in a saucepan / wok, add chicken pieces, saute over medium high heat until chicken changes colour from pink to white. Add smashed garlic, scallions, bay leaves and chili pepper, saute for about 1 minute.
Add cooking wine, chestnuts, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, stir-fry for about 1 minute.
Pour in hot water or stock, make sure to soak ingredients completely, bring liquid to a boil then simmer with a lid for 20-30 minutes.
Switch to high heat and thicken the sauce until shiny and sticky. Stir gently to make sure chestnuts don’t break.
Sprinkle chopped scallion to garnish, if desired. Serve immediately. I highly recommend enjoying the dish with steamed rice – the Chinese way!
The chicken is tender and flavorful, the natural sweetness from chestnuts makes this red braised dish more interesting. It is such a warming and satisfying dish, perfect for cold weather!