Stewed Chicken and Chinese Chestnut with Noodles - a delicious, satisfying comfort food with smooth and thick sauce coating the chewy noodles and meaty, sweet texture of chicken and chestnut.

I had some time to kill before my next agenda the other morning and so decided to go to a nearby hypermarket.  To my delight, I saw a cart of Chinese Chestnuts freshly laid out. They were clean and plump and I was reminded of the time when I was living in Kuala Lumpur. I would sometimes visit Petaling Street but first and foremost, I would gear myself in a pair of pants/slacks with a loose blouse and waist pouch underneath. Why? Firstly, I always believe in taking safety precautions in busy, popular and crowded places.  Secondly, I wanted to leave my hands free to pick, choose and carry goodies. (Go with a partner, both ways).  And mind you, there were a lot of street carts with unique wearables and delicious foods laid out the length of Petaling Street.  One of those was Roast Chinese Chestnut.  I still remember and miss the waft of the sweet aroma of these roasted Chinese chestnuts even before reaching the stall.  

Did you guess if I bought the chestnuts from the hypermarket?  Of course, I did but only as much as I needed.  I scored and roasted them in a wok over the stove for about 20 minutes.  Some were eaten just like that and the rest used to cook with chicken and just as delicious. 

Stewed Chicken and Chinese Chestnut with Noodles
Ingredients A
1 kg chicken drumstick / leg (skin and fats removed)
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp thick soya sauce
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • Chop each chicken drumstick into two pieces.  Crush peppercorns finely.  Mix all together, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Leave in room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.
Ingredients  B
20 Chinese Chestnuts
10 cloves 
6 star anise
8 pips garlic
2 shallots
10g ginger
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp thick soya sauce
1 tbsp ground rice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp sesame oil

  • Score chestnuts on rounded side by using a chestnut knife.  Or lay the flat sides over a thick paper towel on a working board.  Place and hold cleaver on the top middle part of the nuts.  Tap hard to make a shallow cut into the inner skin.  Do not hold the nuts when cutting to prevent accidents.  The paper towel and positioning of cleaver will hold the nuts in place.  Wash and boil for 10 minutes or roast in oven or in a wok/pan.  Use a small knife to lift and remove the outer and inner skins.  Pare off thinly any stubborn skin.
  • Mince the shallots. Leave the garlic whole with the skin on (stewed flesh of garlic tastes good). 
  • Slice ginger into four.

How to cook
  1. Saute cloves, star anise, garlic, minced shallots and ginger in heated oil over medium low heat until lightly browned and aromatic.
  2. Add chicken and stir fry over high heat for 1 minute or until meat changes colour.  Stir in hot water, light and thick soya sauces, chestnuts and bring to boil. When boiling, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover, stir in ground rice and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Uncover, add salt, turn heat to high and cook for 1 minute or until sauce is smooth and thickened.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in sesame oil.  
  6. Serve with flat Chinese noodles or rice. Or use Linguine pasta which tastes the same. Boil according to package instructions before mixing with the stew. Garnish with green/spring onions (optional).
** Substitute ground rice with cornflour if preferred.  Mix 1 tbsp water with 4 tsp cornflour and stir in towards the end, cooking on high heat for a minute until sauce is smooth and thickened.

** If inconvenient to peel fresh chestnuts, use dried ones.  Pour boiling water over and leave to soak overnight.  Boil for an hour until softened and cook accordingly.  Do not discard the water.  Use it and add more if needed to make up the required amount.  

The image below is a batch which I made with less sauce on another day.  I didn't want any noodle or rice then.  Use only half of the water, soya sauces, ground rice or cornflour and salt.

Tuck in and enjoy ...


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