Wintery Chinese Stew: Braised chicken with chestnuts and shitake mushrooms

Traditional home cooked Chinese food is quite different to what your local Chinese take away or restaurant in the UK usually offers. Dinners at home are served ‘family style’ where there are several dishes in the middle of the table for everyone to pick at. There is usually one fish, one meat and a vegetable dish, all served with steamed jasmine rice. Though this can vary depending on the numbers of people eating and how much time you have to cook.

Braised chicken with chestnuts, and variations of it, is a family favourite. I’ve made it a couple of times for British friends as a way of introducing traditional Chinese home cooking and it’s always been well received! As it is a heavy dish full of strong flavours, it’s best to serve with simple greens and some kind of steamed fish. However since I cooked it for just two people at lunch, we just had it with plain steamed rice.

I took this recipe from the Every Grain of Rice cook book and rediscovered how much of a pleasure it is to cook from a book! No need to keep running over to my laptop to check ingredients or turning the screen saver off my phone when I’ve forgotten the next step…

I adapted the recipe slightly as I had no spring onions so used leeks instead. I used chicken leg quarters chopped up, and deep fried leeks in a little corn flour to add a final crispy finishing touch for texture and appearance sake.

I would recommend this Every Grain of Rice cook book to anyone who wants to learn some basic Chinese family recipes!

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