Caramel Chicken with Chestnuts

1 hour and 30 minutesServes 4-6
Caramel Chicken with Chestnuts


  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 ½ lb bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, legs and thighs)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 thumb-size pieces of whole ginger
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • ¼ c granulated sugar
  • 1 c sherry cooking wine
  • ¼ c soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ c chicken stock
  • 12 peeled chestnuts
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in water for 1 hour to rehydrate them.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the chicken parts and massage them together.

Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and sauté them for 1 minute. Push all of the vegetables to the side and add the sugar to the middle of the pot. Allow the sugar to caramelize to a dark amber color, about 3 minutes, then add the chicken into the pot and stir-fry quickly for about 1 minute. Add the sherry and stir and scrape the pot to get all the caramel to melt into the liquid.

Cook off the alcohol for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce, molasses and star anise to the pot. When it comes to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and add the chicken stock. Skim the surface of the braising liquid by removing the floating layer of protein on top, and then add the shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt before serving.

Recipe developed by Shirley Chung