In Chinese culture and cuisine, chestnut have always been associated with the meaning “lucky”. In Chinese language, chestnuts are pronounced as “li-zi” (栗子) with “Li” sounding like another Chinese word, which means “profit” (利). So people will feel really happy when they have this dish in Chinese New Year dinner.
Chestnuts are one of the most delicious nuts on the market. The flavour of chestnuts are sweet, rich and you can easily use it for desserts, salads, stuffing and you can cook them with meat or poultry. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of “nuts” but I do love the taste of chestnut.
The scientific name for chestnut is Castanea sativa and it belongs to the Beech or Fagaceae family. Chestnuts are native to the forests of China, Europe, Japan and North America but some articles say it’s native to the Northern Hemisphere.
There are also many healthy benefit of chestnut.
- In Chinese medicine, chestnuts are good for people who have weak kidneys. They are especially good for old people who have lower back ache or weak legs, but don’t consuming too much of chestnut in one meal as this could cause digestive irritation.
- Chestnuts contain high level of dietary fiber which can also help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Chestnuts are rich in Vitamin C.
- It’s high in anti-oxidants so can protect your body.
- Chestnuts contain high levels of folates. This can help to prevent neural tube and fetus defects.
- They can prevent heart and artery disease and strokes.
- They are a good source of different minerals, for example, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
- They also provide a decent amount of potassium, which can also help to reduce your blood pressure and lower your heart rate.
- Chestnuts also contain high percentages of important B-complex groups of vitamins.
- Chestnuts are gluten free! So you can use them in many gluten free dish!
These are some of the health benefits of Chestnut. But if you have any special dietary requirements or health problem please consult your doctor.
Back to the recipe, I used chestnuts that came vacuum-packed and are whole in spare. All you need to do wit these is open the packaging and cook it straight away. They usually taste better than tinned chestnuts as well.
If you use dried chestnuts, make sure to soak them in water 4-6 hours before you cook them with this dish.
Normally in Chinese cooking, Chinese people will cook this dish with a whole chicken but cut it into bite size pieces or chicken legs cut into the bite size (with bone still on). Chicken bones will always improve the flavour of a dish like this so definitely use if you can. Using chicken bones will make it a bit like making a chicken stock.
I am aware however a lot of Western people don’t like eating meat on the bone so adjust the recipe to suit your needs.
Procedures:Recipe for delicious and healthy Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken. I’m not a big fan of nuts but I do love chestnuts.
- Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir fry the ginger, spring onions and garlic until aromatic.
- Add sugar into the wok and turn the fire to medium-low and wait for it to melt.
- Add the chicken after the sugar has melted. Stir fry it until the chicken’s colour has turned a nice golden brown colour.
- Add all the seasonings and boil it. Add chestnuts once the sauce is boiling.
- Reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry and it’s ready to serve.
- Ready to serve! This dish is perfect to serve with cooked rice.