Classic Chinese braised chicken with chestnut
Chestnut is a popular snack on Chinese street especially fried or roasted ones. We can always find one store selling freshly fried chestnut on the street corner. Chinese chestnut is named as “板栗” in mainland China.
My grandmother lives in a large mountain where there are lots of wild Chinese chestnuts trees. However, we had no idea about what it is and whether it is edible until one day a guest pointed out that those were Chinese chestnut tree. From that time on, we ate lots of chestnut for free.I still remember one afternoon, my grandmother ask my grandfather to get some chestnut for the braising chicken recipe. Just around 20 minutes, my grandfather get a large brunch of chestnut tree, thinking that he had finished the job. So we spend lots of time breaking the first shell, the second shell and peeling the skin off.
Then we tested lots of methods to make this process easier. There are many ways to peel off the chestnut including boiling, roasting in micro-wave oven or exposure under sunshine or rub shelled with rubber glove or towel. Her are some tips about how to skin off chestnut easily.
- If you do not want to shell the chestnut firstly, then boil them in salted water for around 5 minutes. And then cut the chestnut into halves and peel the shell and skin off when they are still hot. Leave the left soaked with the hot water.
- If you are skilled at removing the shell the chestnut, shell them firstly and then soak in boiling water for around 1 minutes and then rub with towel by small batches (around 5 to 6) to remove the skin quickly.
Fresh chestnuts are almost everywhere in China, so I am using fresh ones for today’s recipe. Compared with frozen ones, fresh ones offer a stronger taste. You can use frozen ones of course.
- 2 pounds chicken , I use whole chicken, you can use chicken thigh
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1 cup fresh chestnut after shell
- 2 green onions , finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , sliced
- 1 sections of scallion around 10cm long
- 4 slices ginger
- 1/4 middle size red onion
- 2 star anises
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , taste to adjust the amount accordingly
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Cut the chicken into small chunks and then cook in boiling water for around 30 seconds to remove the impurities. And then transfer out and drain.
Marinate the chicken with around 2 tablespoons soy sauce for around 15 minutes. Drain before frying.
Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a pan or wok until really hot. Add chicken chunks in. Stay for around 1 minute until brown on one side and fragrant. And then turn them over to fry the other side.
Move them to one side of the wok; add garlic, ginger, scallion and red onion until aroma. Mix well. Pour around 2 cups of hot water to soak the chicken chunks completely. Slow the fire to simmer for around 10 minutes. Add all the other sauce ingredients except sesame oil
Add chestnuts in and continue simmer until the chestnuts are well cooked (soft to your own preference). Turn up the fire to thicken the sauce. When the sauce is well thickened, add sesame oil. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with chopped green onion before serving.