Braised Chestnut Chicken

Braised Chestnut Chicken

Braised chicken with chestnuts in a rich soy sauce is a well-loved dish within many Chinese families. The juicy meat is the by-product of the slow cooking process. With the umami flavours of the succulent shiitake mushrooms, the dish is a hit especially when served with rice.

5 stars

Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 30 mins



Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean

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There are two reasons why you have to cook braised chestnut chicken. You either love a good dish with gravy on the rice or it's winter because the dish is like a big hug as it warms the soul. That's the beauty of the braising process when cooking the dish in a mixture of sauces namely light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil. While it is already a winning combination on its own, slowly cooking the chestnuts in the gravy helps the natural sweetness to be released. This results in a delicious chicken dish with soft chestnuts and juicy mushrooms that will be the star of your meal!

The secret to the best chestnut chicken

While it may seem like a simple braised dish, there are two factors you need to take extra notice to ensure this dish taste fantastic. When tasting the gravy, the flavour of the chestnuts must clearly comes through. This is the reason I highly recommend crushing some of the chestnuts to allow the flavours to develop better as they cook.

Mashed chestnuts
Mashed chestnuts

Sautéing the chestnuts, aromatics, mushrooms and chicken until fragrant is equally important. This helps to improve the flavour of the dish and also to remove excess water, if any. It is important to pay attention to each of the recommended steps.

All about preparing chestnuts

Of course, fresh chestnuts will yield the best taste. All you need to do is to make an insertion on the shell of each chestnut. This allows the heat and water to soften it. Be careful not to hurt yourself as the shell is rather slippery.

Cut chestnut shell
Cut chestnut shell

The thin brown skin of the chestnut will usually falls off when removing the shell after boiling. If it does not, boil the chestnuts again for another minute before transferring them to a clean kitchen towel and give them a gentle rub. The friction between the kitchen towel and the chestnuts should remove the skin easily.

However, this step might be a nuisance to many. A quick way is to buy peeled chestnuts which are sold in a vacuum package or pickled in syrup water. The latter might result in the dish becoming sweeter. So you may want to reduce the sugar or omit it.

Which part of the chicken to use?

Usually, chicken wings and drumsticks are used in this dish. Using meat with bones attached in a braised dish provides a bolder flavour. Besides that, the meat is also very much tender compared to using chicken breast. I highly recommend not to remove the skin because it releases oil and makes the dish much tastier. Chicken stock is not all needed.

Is the dish suitable for children?

Of course! The dried chillies can be removed to make it suitable for children. Chestnuts are also known to be filled with health benefits. Just remember to remove the bones if you are serving it to toddlers.

How to prepare the dish in advance?

Preparations can be done up to 3 days in advance. Ensure that the chestnuts, aromatics and mushrooms are ready for cooking. You can keep them in an air tight container to retain the freshness. Otherwise, contain their freshness using cling wrap.

How long can the dish be stored?

Braised dishes are perfect for bulk cooking as they always taste better the day after. You can double or triple the amount to portion into several meals. Freeze the dish in an air-tight container or a freezer bag. They can be kept for up to 2 months.

To reheat, the frozen dish does not need to be thawed. Just steam it over medium to high heat for 20 minutes. It does not take long to heat up but I always like to steam it a little longer to ensure that the dish is really hot. If you want a quicker method, reheat the frozen dish in a pot filled with a bit of water and place the lid on. This will allow the dish to thaw and cook at the same time. However, you may want to season it with some soy sauce or sugar before serving as the taste may be diluted during the process.


1 cm
3 cm
garlic clove(s)
chilli peppers (dried)
shiitake mushroom(s)
1 tbsp
1⁄2 tsp
blackpepper corns
450 g
chicken wings
1 tbsp
shaoxing wine
1 1⁄2 tbsp
light soy sauce
1 tbsp
dark soy sauce
300 ml
1⁄2 tbsp
sesame oil
1⁄4 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 1

Step 1 of 6

    • 12 chestnuts

Create an insertion on the shell of each chestnut. In a pot of boiling water, cook chestnuts over medium heat for 20 minutes with the lid on. Then, remove the shell and skin of the chestnuts.

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 2

Step 2 of 6

Prepare aromatics by slicing ginger and cutting shallots into wedges. Rinse dried chillies and garlic cloves with its skin on. Soak mushrooms for at least 20 minutes or until soft.

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1⁄2 tsp blackpepper corns

Preheat oil over low heat in a pot. Add ginger, shallots, dried chillies, garlic and black pepper. Sauté until ingredients are fragrant. Remove from pot to set aside.

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 4

Step 4 of 6

In the same pot, sauté chestnuts over low heat until they turn golden yellow and fragrant. Remove them and set aside. While they are still hot, use a fork to crush 3 chestnuts into smaller chunks. Set aside.

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 5

Step 5 of 6

    • 450 g chicken wings

Add chicken to the heated pot to sear the skin over medium heat. Turn the chicken pieces around to prevent burning.

Braised Chestnut Chicken Step 6

Step 6 of 6

    • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
    • 1 1⁄2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 300 ml water
    • 1⁄2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1⁄4 tbsp salt

Then, add the aromatics, soaked mushrooms, whole chestnuts and crushed chestnuts to the chicken. Sauté for 1 minute before adding Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Mix well and increase heat to the maximum to let the dish boil. Then, reduce heat to the minimum and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until gravy reduces to the consistency preferred. Add salt to taste and finally, drizzle sesame oil to the dish before serving.

Published: June 26, 2020

3 Discussions

9 months ago


Perfect for the season

3 years ago


Hi I notice that you don't season the chicken. Is it better to season the chicken with salt and pepper beforehand? When do we season beforehand and when do we not? Thanks

3 years ago


Since it's a braised dish and the gravy is rather flavourful, I don't season it beforehand. You can prick the chicken with a fork so that the flavours are absorbed into the chicken.

May Hung
4 years ago

May Hung

I like all braised food... your braised chicken looks sooooo yummy😋

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Try it out! Once you do, send us a food snap.

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