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Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts Recipe

by Jeanette on February 6, 2013 · 14 Comments
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Chinese Chestnut Chicken © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Chinese New Year is coming up soon – February 10, 2013, and it’s the Year of the Black Snake! I’ve been thinking of what dishes I’m going to make for my family, and this Braised Chicken with Chestnuts is a dish that’s been on my mind recently.

For 8 years, we had a woman from Shanghai live with our family to help care for my aging in-laws. After both my mother-in-law and father-in-law passed away, she moved out and returned to her home country. We were so fortunate to find someone as capable as she was – not only was she an excellent caregiver, but she was a great cook and I learned a few dishes from her while she lived with us.
Chinese Chestnut Chicken © Jeanette's Healthy Living

This Chinese Chicken with Chestnut dish is traditionally Shanghainese and I remember Wendy making this for our family. Although dried chestnuts used to be commonly used in this dish, frozen fresh chestnuts and jarred chestnuts are more readily available these days, so that’s what I use.

Cooked Chestnuts © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Cooked Chestnuts I purchased from the frozen section of an Asian grocery store

Chinese Chestnut Chicken © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Today, Food Network and a group of bloggers is featuring Chicken for this week’s Comfort Food Feast event. Please stop by and see what everyone made:

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Braised Chicken With Chestnuts
The Cultural Dish: Chicken Marsala
Thursday Night Dinner: Girls’ Night Chicken and Artichoke Pasta
Feed Me Phoebe: Honey Mustard Chicken Wings
Devour: Fried Chicken, 5 Ways
Made By Michelle: Chicken and Kale Casserole
Virtually Homemade: Tortilla Chip Chicken Tenders With Creamy BBQ Sauce
Cooking With Elise: Chicken Pastry
FN Dish: The New Face of Comforting Chicken Dishes

5 from 1 reviews
Chinese Braised Chicken with Chestnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Traditionally, the chicken pieces are cut into bite size pieces; however, if you prefer to leave them whole, extend the cooking time.
Serves: 6
  • 2½ pounds chicken parts (I used chicken thighs on the bone)
  • 4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 5 slices ginger, the size of quarters, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh chestnuts (or defrosted frozen ones)
  • 8 shitake mushrooms, rehydrated in water (reserve soaking liquid), stems removed, halved
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cup shitake mushroom soaking liquid
  1. Chop chicken parts into small pieces if you like (1½" pieces). Marinate chicken with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and add scallions and ginger; saute a few minutes until fragrant. Place chicken pieces in pan in a single layer. Brown on one side, then turn over all the pieces and brown the other side. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sherry, honey, star anise, rehydrated shitake mushrooms, and shitake mushroom soaking liquid. Mix sauce and chicken well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, covered. Add chestnuts and toss gently. Cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes, until chicken is tender.

This post has been linked up to Beyond the Peel’s Keep It Real Thursdays.

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  1. Such a great recipe, Jeanette! Easy, light and a fun twist on the usual meals that come out of my kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I too prefer to use chicken thigh when making this dish. Your photo is making me hungry and I already had dinner.
    How can I vote if I have neither facebook nor twitter?

  3. What a beautiful dish Jeanette! We are taking our son to a big Chinese New Year celebration this weekend – I can’t wait to figure out what I am going to cook afterwards.

  4. Oh I just love the flavors here. I’m going to have to see if I can get some chestnuts in my small town. It just sounds too delicious not to try.

  5. one of my favorite chicken dishes! Just picturing the savory and aromatic chicken makes me drool. Thanks for sharing and happy new year!

    • Happy New Year Yi! This is a classic recipe – still working on my menu for tomorrow – this might be on it.

  6. Heah Kim Beng Calvin says:

    it is one of my favourite dish. Thanks for sharing..


  7. Mary Scott says:

    Chinese cuisine does not use olive oil or sherry, so it’s not traditional at all. I have lived in China for the last twenty years and have never seen sherry on sale.

    Still sounds good though.

    • Mary – you are correct, olive oil and sherry are not used in traditional Chinese cuisine. My parents used sherry in place of rice wine for all their cooking when I was growing up as it was easier to find. And, we use olive oil because we believe it’s a healthier and allergy-friendly oil in place of vegetable/peanut oil.

  8. Stuart says:

    Hi Jeanette,
    This is seriously so ridiculously good! I just made it last night, and it is one of the best-tasting things I have ever made. I had to make a slightly modified version due to unavailability of some ingredients, but it was basically the same thing. I now have multiple requests to cook this dish. Thanks for posting it!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Stuart – so glad you enjoyed this! It’s a classic Chinese dish and great for entertaining. Thanks for coming back and letting me know how it turned out.

  9. What can you use instead of sherry?

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