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The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Chinese Braised Chicken: Recipe You Should Try

Chinese braised chicken is a classic Chinese dish that is made by simmering chicken in a savoury and aromatic sauce  until it falls off the bone tender. The dish is easy to make and requires only a few essential ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store.

A large pot simmering with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and tender chicken pieces, surrounded by vibrant green scallions and bright red chili peppers

To make Chinese braised chicken, you'll need chicken (preferably chicken thighs), fresh ginger, scallions, chestnuts (or you can switch with potato or carrot), green pepper, mushrooms, olive oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and soybean paste. The preparation techniques are simple and straightforward, and the cooking process is relatively hands-off, allowing you to focus on other tasks while the dish simmers away on the stove.

Chinese braised chicken is a comforting and satisfying dish that's perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion. With a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking skills, you can create a delicious and authentic Chinese meal that your family and friends will love. So why not give it a try and see for yourself how easy and delicious this dish can be?

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese braised chicken is an easy and flavourful dish that's perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion.
  • Essential ingredients for Chinese braised chicken include chicken, ginger, scallions, chestnuts, green pepper, mushrooms, soy sauce, and soybean paste.
  • You can easily customize the dish by adding seafood or substituting different ingredients.

Essential Ingredients

A pot simmering with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices, while chicken thighs braise in the rich, savory liquid

To make a delicious Chinese braised chicken dish, you will need a combination of main components, sauces and seasonings, and aromatic additions. Here are the essential ingredients that you will need to prepare this dish.

Main Components

The main component of this dish is, of course, chicken. You can use any part of the chicken, but chicken thighs are the best choice as they are more tender and flavourful. You can also add seafood to the dish to give it a unique flavour. Scallops, prawns, and squid are great options to consider.

Sauces and Seasonings

To add flavour to the dish, you will need to use a combination of sauces and seasonings. Light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce are the most commonly used sauces in Chinese cuisine. They add a unique flavour to the dish and give it a rich colour. Sugar, salt, and pepper are also used to balance the flavours.

Aromatic Additions

Aromatic additions such as ginger, garlic, sesame oil, star anise, and bay leaves are used to enhance the flavour of the dish. Ginger and garlic add a pungent flavour, while sesame oil adds a nutty flavour. Star anise and bay leaves add a sweet and fragrant flavour to the dish.

When preparing this dish, it is important to use fresh and high-quality ingredients to achieve the best flavour. Adding seafood to the dish is a great way to give it a unique flavour. Scallops, prawns, and squid are great options to consider. Just make sure to cook them properly to avoid overcooking or undercooking them.

Preparation Techniques

A whole chicken is being marinated in soy sauce, ginger, and spices. It is then simmered in a flavorful broth until tender and infused with rich, savory flavors

Cleaning and Prepping Chicken

Before you start cooking your braised chicken, it is essential to clean and prep your chicken. Rinse your chicken under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. You can use chicken thighs or wings for this recipe. Remove the skin and excess fat from the chicken pieces. This will help the chicken to cook evenly and absorb the flavours of the marinade.

Marinating Basics

Marinating is a crucial step in making delicious Chinese braised chicken. It helps to tenderize the chicken and infuse it with flavour. You can marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator. You can use a combination of light and dark soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine for the marinade. You can also add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavours.

To marinate your chicken, place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients. Mix well to coat the chicken pieces evenly. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To cook your braised chicken, you can start by searing the chicken pieces in a pan to get a nice golden brown colour. Then, you can simmer the chicken in the marinade until it is tender and juicy. You can also add different vegetables like potatoes, mushrooms, and chestnuts to the braising liquid to make it more flavourful.

If you want to add seafood to your braised chicken recipe, you can use prawns or scallops. You can add them to the braising liquid in the last few minutes of cooking. This will give your dish a unique flavour and texture.

Cooking Process

Chicken pieces simmer in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices. Steam rises from the pot as the savory aroma fills the kitchen

Braising the Chicken

To start off, heat up your wok and add some oil. Once the oil is hot, add your chicken pieces and let them brown on all sides. You can also add some diced potatoes or other vegetables at this point if you'd like. Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the wok and set it aside.

Next, add some water to the wok along with your braising sauce. This could be a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other seasonings. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add your chicken back in. Cover the wok and let the chicken braise until it's cooked through and tender. This should take around 20-30 minutes.

Thickening the Sauce

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the wok and set it aside. You should be left with a thin braising sauce in the wok. To thicken it up, mix some cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Add this slurry to the wok and stir until the sauce has thickened up to your liking. You can also reduce the sauce further if you'd like it to be even thicker.

Final Touches

Once the sauce is thickened, add your chicken back in and stir to coat it in the sauce. You can also add some garnishes at this point, such as chopped scallions or sesame seeds. If you're feeling adventurous, you could even add some seafood to the dish. Shrimp or scallops would work well with the braising sauce, and would add a nice contrast of textures to the dish.

Serve your braised chicken hot with some steamed rice and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

A steaming bowl of Chinese braised chicken surrounded by vibrant green bok choy and garnished with sliced green onions and sesame seeds

Accompaniments

Chinese braised chicken is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of accompaniments. Steamed rice is a classic option that pairs well with the rich, savoury flavour of the braised chicken. Alternatively, you could serve the chicken with noodles for a heartier meal.

To add some freshness to the dish, garnish with finely chopped green onion or scallions. You could also add some thinly sliced carrot or a side of green vegetables, such as bok choy or broccoli.

If you're feeling adventurous, you could also add seafood to the dish. Shrimp or scallops would be a great addition to the braised chicken, adding a complementary flavour and texture to the dish.

Presentation Tips

When serving Chinese braised chicken, presentation is key. To make the dish look more visually appealing, you could place the chicken on a bed of steamed rice or noodles. This will help to soak up the delicious sauce and create a more cohesive dish.

You could also garnish the dish with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, to add some colour and flavour. If you're serving the dish for a special occasion, consider plating the chicken individually and garnishing with edible flowers or sesame seeds for an extra touch of elegance.

The secret to serving Chinese braised chicken is to keep it simple yet flavourful. With the right accompaniments and presentation, this dish is sure to impress your guests and become a family favourite.

Nutritional Information

A steaming pot of Chinese braised chicken surrounded by colorful vegetables and a handwritten nutritional information label

Before we dive into the recipe, let's take a look at the nutritional information of this Chinese braised chicken dish. Keep in mind that the following information is for informational purposes only and may vary based on the specific ingredients used in your recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Here's a breakdown of the approximate nutritional values per serving of this dish:

  • Calories: 350
  • Total Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 130mg
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 10g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 4g
  • Protein: 38g

As you can see, this dish is relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It's also a good source of iron, vitamin B6, and niacin.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

This recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken thighs, which are a great choice for this dish. Chicken thighs are a dark meat, which means they have a higher fat content than chicken breast. However, they are also more flavourful and tender than chicken breast, making them a great choice for braising.

Seafood

If you're looking to add some seafood to this dish, you could try adding some shrimp or scallops. These seafood options would pair well with the savoury flavours of the braised chicken and mushrooms. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as seafood cooks much faster than chicken.

This Chinese braised chicken recipe is a delicious and nutritious dish that you can enjoy any day of the week.

Variations and Substitutions

A bubbling pot of Chinese braised chicken surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs, with a hint of soy sauce and sweetness from sugar

Alternative Ingredients

While the traditional Chinese braised chicken recipe calls for chicken thighs, you can substitute them with chicken breasts or even seafood like prawns or fish fillets. For seafood, you can use tiger prawns or sea bass fillets, which are firm and can hold their shape well during cooking.

Instead of dried shiitake mushrooms, you can use fresh mushrooms or other dried mushrooms like porcini or chanterelles. If you don't have rock sugar, you can substitute it with brown sugar or honey. For Chinese cooking wine, you can use dry sherry or rice wine vinegar.

Regional Twists

Chinese cuisine varies greatly by region, and each region has its own twist on the classic braised chicken recipe. In Shandong, they add ginger and garlic to the recipe, while in Shanghai, they use soy sauce and rock sugar for a sweeter taste.

For a Shandong-style braised chicken recipe, add sliced ginger and minced garlic to the recipe. In Shanghai-style, use soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce and add rock sugar for a sweeter taste.

Conclusion

With these variations and substitutions, you can create your own unique twist on the classic Chinese braised chicken recipe. Whether you're using seafood or different ingredients, it's easy to make this dish your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the secret to getting super tender chicken in a braise?

The secret to getting super tender chicken in a braise is to cook it low and slow. This allows the chicken to cook in a liquid over a long period of time, which helps to break down the connective tissues and make the meat tender. Using a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven will also help to distribute the heat evenly and prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Can you walk me through a simple Chinese braised chicken recipe for beginners?

Sure! Here's a simple Chinese braised chicken recipe for beginners:

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 piece ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken pieces and stir-fry until browned.
  3. Add Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  5. Serve hot with steamed rice and your favourite vegetables.

What veggies go well in a Chinese braised chicken dish?

There are many vegetables that go well in a Chinese braised chicken dish, such as carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and bok choy. You can also add some seafood, such as prawns or squid, to give the dish an extra flavour.

How can I infuse more flavour into my soy sauce braised chicken?

To infuse more flavour into your soy sauce braised chicken, you can add some herbs and spices, such as ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns. You can also marinate the chicken in the soy sauce mixture for a few hours before cooking to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat.

What's the difference between Teochew and regular Chinese braised chicken?

Teochew braised chicken is a variation of Chinese braised chicken that originated from the Teochew region in China. It is typically made with a whole chicken that is braised in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and spices, such as cinnamon, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns. The dish is also known for its use of preserved vegetables, such as mustard greens or salted radish, which add a unique flavour to the dish.

Any tips for braising chicken thighs to perfection?

When braising chicken thighs, it's important to sear them first to give them a nice brown crust and enhance their flavour. Use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to distribute the heat evenly and prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You can also add some liquid, such as chicken stock or water, to the pot to keep the chicken moist during the braising process. If you're using bone-in chicken thighs, make sure to cook them for at least 45 minutes to ensure that they are cooked through and tender.