Stewed chickens with chestnuts is quite popular in Hong Kong and a typical Cantonese home-cooking dish. It’s hard to describe how delicious this dish is. In Australia, we don’t often have fresh chestnuts available. Luckily, I found fresh chestnuts were on sale at a nearby supermarket. Frankly speaking, this dish is quite easy to cook except the job of cracking the nuts and removing the papery skin. There are some frozen chestnuts without any skins available at Asian grocery stores if you would like to save time on cracking the nuts. Very handy.
- 600 gm chicken wings
- 300 gm chestnuts, removed shells and papery skin
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- water, about 2 to 3 cups that cover all ingredients
- basil, for garnish
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger juice
- 1 tsp cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- a pinch of white pepper
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- a pinch of pepper
- a dash of sesame oil
- Remove the shells of chestnuts with the tip of the knife and peel the inner brown papery skins off. (see note)
- Marinate chicken wings at least 20 minutes. If the chicken wings are frozen, defrost and blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well, and then marinate them.
- Heat oil on a wok over medium heat to sauté minced garlic until aromatic. Add marinated chicken wings. Stir and cook until the chicken turns lightly brown. Add chestnuts and stir fry for a while. Pour in water to cover all the ingredients. Bring it to a boil and cover with a lid. Turn to lower heat and simmer until tender. Add seasoning to thicken sauce to your preferred consistency. Garnish with basil if you like.
Note: There were many methods to remove the skins of chestnuts quite easily.
- Use oven: Use the tip of a sharp knife, score an X on the flat side of the chestnut. Place scored chestnuts on a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes. This will cause the X to open up a little and you can easily remove the shell with the inner brown skin.
- Use hot water: Use the tip of a sharp knife to remove the outer shells. Soak the chestnuts in hot water about 80C for 3 to 5 minutes. The inner papery skin would be much easier to peel off with a knife. Or use another method that I experiment quite efficient and quickly get the job done. Instantly put the hot chestnuts on a clean towel. Rub one by one with the towel rigorously. The papery skin would also come off easily. If any one of them can’t be peeled off at the first time, put it back in hot water and soak for another few minutes again. Repeat the procedure. While the chestnuts are still hot, it’s quite easy to remove the papery skin. Once they cool, the skins are difficult to remove, so keep the batch warm while you work.
One last note:If using a sharp knife to score an X on the chestnut concern you, you might like to invest and buy a little gadget in order to satisfy your desire of eating fresh chestnuts.
The Chestnutter, looking like a garlic press, helps mark a perfect X on the shells of chestnuts, without risking your fingers being hurt at all.