Chinese Braised Chicken and Chestnuts

Chicken and ChestnutsThis Braised Chicken and Chestnuts recipe is a real keeper as not only is it delicious and packed full of Chinese flavour, it is also far lower in fat than most Chinese dishes. So for anyone out there on a diet but who is struggling to give up the weekly take-away, give this a go! If your go-to take-away choice packs the heat then you should probably add some finely chopped chilli to this dish as it is on the tamer side of the Scoville scale. Or give your plate a generous squeeze of sriracha sauce. If you, reading this, likes your chilli heat then I probably don’t need to explain that sriracha is a Thai ketchup-like hot sauce that is chalked full of chilli and other flavours. When I say “ketchup-like” it is really only like it in colour and consistency. If you wanted to shave another few calories off this dish, you could swap the thighs for breasts. I did that once when I was cooking for a friend with a looming deadline for a hefty weight-loss and it was lovely! You are more at risk of the meat drying out if you use breast though, especially if your sauce needs to be reduced at the end. Thighs have more fat through them which will keep them moist and more flavourful for longer cooking so this is one instance where breast is NOT best!

The chicken and chestnuts go so well especially the sweetness of the nuts with the savouriness of the soy in the sauce. Whatever you do, don’t dream of roasting and peeling the chestnuts yourself. I made that mistake one christmas and not only was it arduous, they also brought nothing but waxy hardness to the brussels sprouts to which they were added. Just buy a packet of them cooked!

Chinese Braised Chicken and Chestnuts


  • 450g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bitesized pieces
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 spring onion whites, bruised
  • 4 spring onion greens cut into 4 cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 and a half tbsp shauxing wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp brown suhar
  • 180g cooked chestnuts
  • 1 and a half tsp dark soy sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a high heat, add the ginger and spring onion whites and stir fry for just a minute or two until they become really aromatic.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and stir occasionally for just a few minutes until they just start to go brown.
  3. Add the shauxing wine and stir before adding the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Once boiling, add the sugar, chestnuts and the dark soy sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if needs be.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, clamp the lid on and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Then check to see if the sauce is thick enough, it should coat the chicken nicely. If it's too thin, turn the heat up to high until it has reduced.
  8. Once it is thick enough, add in the spring onion greens, turn off the heat, clamp the lid on and let it sit there for a minute. Then serve.
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