Easy Chestnut Chicken

Hello there! Are you feeling Spring weather in your neck of the woods? I had a wonderful week hanging out with my little girl during her Spring Break, had lots of play dates, picked strawberries, had a proper “Lady’s Lunch” in the big mall with our friends, and on Saturday hubby took us to Brehnam Texas for some wild flower viewing and wine tasting. Here are a couple of photos for your enjoyment:

Due to all the rain, blue bonnets are plentiful this Spring!
Field of gold!

I am especially proud to be a Texan when March/April rolls around, Lady Bird Johnson beautified this great State and we all truly appreciate it!

OK onto today’s recipe, I have been on a chicken kick lately, and this super simple recipe came out so flavorful, surely it will make another appearance real soon! The only item that needs some advance preparation is the dried chestnut, be sure to soak them in water for at least 4 hours, I only soaked mine for 2 hours this time around and they were not as soft in texture as I’d like, no one else complained though…


  • 3 tablespoons coarsely crushed yellow rock sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2  pounds whole chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 16 dried chestnuts, soaked in warm water for at least 4 hours
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallion


  • Stir together sugar, wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and water in a medium bowl, then set aside.
  • Cut chicken thighs into large bite size pieces
  • Heat vegetable oil in a wok then stir-fry ginger and garlic until golden, 1 to 2 minutes, transfer to a plate.
  • Add half of chicken to wok and stir-fry until golden, about 2 minutes, then transfer to plate with ginger and garlic. Stir-fry remaining chicken with chestnuts until golden, about 2 minutes.
  • Return chicken, ginger, and garlic from plate to wok, then add soy mixture. Cover wok and cook chicken over moderate heat until sauce is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove lid and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened and just coats chicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Serve sprinkled with scallion.
Original recipe from Epicurious

31 Comments Add yours

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    OMG, the flower photos are so beautiful!!! To be honest, I don’t know when was the last time I saw flowers like in a big area… Very pretty! Glad to hear you had a very nice spring break. I can’t wait for mine in 2 weeks (gosh coming up so quick and nothing is ready!).

    How funny – I was on a chicken kick last week! This oyster sauce flavor sounds perfect. I always enjoy it with ginger/garlic/oyster sauce/soy sauce combo. By the way, do you taste mushrooms in dark mushroom soy sauce? I have never used it. Maybe I should find a small bottle and try it out. Have a great week!

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Nami! The wild flowers are not even fully bloomed yet! The drought last year meant we didn’t see much, but there has been a lot of rain this year (in fact it’s thunder storming right now), so the flowers are happy and showing their faces! I am sure you and the children are counting the days to Spring Break, I don’t remember ever having such a great time, though this year I notified my clients that I was not going to be as accessible, and they all respected that, so having the week to just spend time with Trini was such a blessing!

      I can’t really taste the mushroom in the dark soy sauce, which is probably good because Trini does not like the taste of them. This chicken really turned out well and the whole family enjoyed it!

  2. Jenny says:

    Oh Jeno, what beautiful pics! It’s always a thrill to see the colours of spring. Our daffodils are just peeping out, and the wild primroses are the palest yellow, just beautiful. I adore chestnuts, too. They are very nutty, so it’s good you can enjoy them. I will definitely be trying your delicious sounding chicken dish.

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Jenny! Thank you! I would love to see some more photos of your garden, I stumbled across some last night while visiting, it was one of your “Peppers” postings, and it looked lovely! Chestnuts are so yummy, in fact I just realized this might be the only nut I am able to eat without breaking out, hmmmm, something to think about!

  3. Sissi says:

    Spring in Texas looks so beautiful! The flowers are breathtaking!
    You know, as someone who has been on a chicken kick for… well certainly more than 30 years, I welcome every chicken dish with joy! It sounds luscious and simple and I am happy to learn dried chestnuts exist! (The can of chestnuts I used in pearl balls was thrown away with 3/4 of its content because I had no ideas what to do with them…). I must check my Asian grocers.

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Sissi! I have to agree with you, the Texas wildflowers really are wonderful, it’s one of my most favorite time of the year!
      I have always been a fan of chicken, though since I got married, Jon is a fan of red meat, so I’ve been cooking a lot more of that. Lately I have been cooking more chicken for health reasons, and the recipes seem to be his liking, so maybe I can slowly convert him… Oh by the way, this recipe actually calls for chestnuts, not water chestnuts, though I can imagine water chestnuts would taste pretty great with these ingredients anyway. Have a good day!

      1. Sissi says:

        Thank you, Jeno. I wasn’t attentive enough. I already see the faces of the Thai shop assistants in my Asian shop when I ask for dried water chestnuts 😉 I must see if I can find dried chestnuts somewhere.
        I couldn’t live without chicken! The only fast food chain I ever liked was KFC, but (luckily!) it doesn’t exist here and I’m not attracted by McDonald’s (maybe once a year?) so I hardly ever eat at fast food chains. Whenever I go to a country where KFC exists I take two of their small sandwiches or some hot wings and it is soooo good and so bad at the same time 😉

      2. Jeno says:

        Sissi, there are TONS of fast food restaurants in my neck of the woods, I used to enjoy them very much (in my teens and 20’s), but now a days I am used to eating lighter meals, the thought and the smell of grease is no longer appealing… My husband would get upset stomach whenever he sneaks fried chicken, which makes eating them not much fun… But I am looking forward to having some “In-N-Out burger” the next time we make it to California, totally forgot to eat one last year when we were at San Francisco, kicked myself pretty hard when we got back to Texas!

  4. Happy Spring to you! Thanks for sharing a little sunshine and happiness over here in HK. I love your simple dish for chicken and chestnuts. I use Shao Xing rice wine. What is your preference? Take care, BAM

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Bam! Happy Spring to you also! To tell you the truth I don’t really have a preference when it comes to rice wine, does Shao Xing rice wine give the dishes a better flavor? Maybe I should pick up a bottle the next time we make it to the Chinese super marker.

  5. Ohhh the photos are so pretty 🙂 I love the one that’s filled with yellow flowers! Unfortunately, it’s actually autumn for us in Melbourne…so I wont get to see any of these pretty flowers until September when it’s our Spring hehe please take more pretty pictures to show me!

    Yum easy recipes are the best and I like chestnuts in more ‘savoury’ and ‘asian’ style dishes than desserts lol and that’s pretty rare because most of the time I like all ingredients in a form of a ‘desser’t HAHHAA

    thanks for sharing as always!

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Daisy, thank you! Every year my husband takes us to look for wild flowers, and the yellow flower fields are our favorites, they are just amazing to look at! Too bad this was at a private property, so we could not have gone in and take family photos.

      It’s so interesting that you are enjoying the fall weather now, are the leaves turning yet? My cousin and cousin in law went to Australia for Christmas last year, and the hot weather photos really cracked me up! I asked whether they did not get enough hot weather here at Texas, they had to fly half way around the world for more!

      Have a great week!

  6. lyntrinix says:

    Hi Jeno! It’s been such a LONG time since I last visited! :O
    LOVEEEE THOSE BEAUTIFUL BLUE FLOWERS!!! OMG!! I’ve NEVER seen these lovely beauties ever! Imagine how much I’ve missed in my life! LOL

    I always cook either pork or chicken but had never try adding chestnuts (always with pork thou…) and oyster sauce to mine! They must be very tasty! I MUST try this soon! 😉

    PS: I always buy fresh chestnuts from the wet market whenever I see them. Haven’t try the dried ones before and didn’t know that soaking for so many hours is needed! LOL 😛

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Lyn! Hahahah yes I have been slacking off with blogging, though not with cooking, just been lazy with finding new recipes and taking photos…

      You are lucky to have access to fresh chestnuts, I bet they would make this dish taste so much better! The oyster sauce adds more depth to the recipe, and we really enjoyed it! Hope you are doing well, love seeing the food photos you post on FB lately!

      1. Jeno says:

        I forgot to talk about the blue flowers, they are called blue bonnets, the state flower of Texas. Lady Bird Johnson (President Johnson’s wife) had a huge effort with beautifying the Texas highway while she was alive, and now a days when Spring comes around, all the flower seeds start to bloom for about 1 month, it’s such a wonderful scene!

  7. These photos are brilliant! I remember when Lady Bird worked hard to make Texas (more) beautiful. Her legacy lives on.

    Your chestnut chicken sounds so good! What is it about chicken this week? I’ve cooked it two nights in a row.

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Maureen! Welcome to Weeknite Meals! Thank you for the comments, it does sound like a lot of my foodie friends are on a chicken kick this week, maybe the beginning of Spring means the chickens need to run for cover? Haha!

  8. Christy says:

    Oooh, those blue bonnets and the golden field are just so eye-catching and I can see why you are so proud of being a Texan!:)
    I have a brother-in-law in Texas too, and now your post just makes me want to book a flight to get to Texas soon, like really soon!!:D

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Christy! If you are ever going to visit Texas, this is certainly the season to do so! Wild flowers are starting to bloom everywhere, and we are getting quite a lot of rain, which hopefully means more flowers will come out from hiding!

  9. ping says:

    What a feast for the eyes, those gorgeous flowers! You’re so lucky to get fields of wild flowers to look at. We get weeds here 🙂
    This dish reminded me of some frozen chestnuts I have leftover from Christmas! Can you believe it? I’m going to make this with that. Looks delicious!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Ping! It’s amazing how natures works isn’t it? I can not tell you how excited we get when Spring rolls around, when the first patch of wild flowers start to sprout, and when we see families take photos on the side of the free way sitting amongst the blue bonnets, it’s just lovely!

  10. Aww, the spring pics looks lovely! 😀

    I’ve never cooked with chestnuts, I just know roasted chestnuts from the Christmas market, and water chestnuts from Chinese dishes (but those are different). Looks very good! 🙂

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Kath, these dried chestnuts are the same as the Christmas market ones, though I don’t see fresh chestnuts on a regular basis, so dried ones have to do…

  11. Hi Jeno! Wow, I agree with everyone talking about how beautiful those flower pictures are! How expansive is that land! I recently nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award because I’m so glad to have found your blog and I’ve enjoyed reading your recipes! More info can be found here: http://www.sweetandsaltysf.com/2012/03/marthas-perfect-macaroni-and-cheese.html

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Jackie, Thank you so much for the award, I really appreciate it! Really enjoy your blog, like your photos also, that picture of the sweet potato is calling my name! BTW the picture of you and Jon’s TOO cute, reminds me of my husband (also Jon, Ha!) and I when we were younger!

  12. What a delicious looking recipe and fabulous flower photos, Jeno! This is a wonderful post. It sounds like you had a nice little ladies lunch, too! This is my and my husband’s first Texas spring and though I haven’t been to Brehnam before, I’m more than happy with all the beauty Austin has to offer this time of year. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for sharing your post!

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Georgia! You are certainly not missing anything by not making it to Brehnam. We just got back from your area and it’s absolutely breath taking! I’ve never seen wild flowers this abundant, you and your husband moved here at the right time!

      1. Oh, the wildflowers are breathtaking! I love the array of colors. Even living in California beforehand, I had never seen anything like it. We have enjoyed making Texas our home so, so much! Thanks for your sweet comment.

      2. Jeno says:

        Hi Georgia! It’s funny that you compared California with Texas, because hubby can not stop talking about the flowers around San Diego, though I truly think when it comes to wild flowers, no one has Texas beat! You can certainly call yourself a Texan, all the Mom buddies I have in the neighborhood are from other states, and they “converted” as soon as they got here, Haha!

  13. love the pictures on the flowers and the open filed. I some times wish I don’t live in NY because I am far from the wild nature.
    for a second I thought you made three cup chicken because of claypot but this chestnut chicken looks just as delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Yi! When it’s Spring and Fall, I feel so blessed to live in the great state of Texas. But when it’s over 100 degrees for 4-5 months, and the only thing we can do is walk around in the mall, it can get a bit old… Thank you for dropping by, I absolutely love your blog and can’t wait to see more!

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