Red Cooked Chicken – The Wife Wins Again

I’m not  a big man. I stand about 5′ 8″ in my socks (not a sight you would want to see). When I married the Wife a good few years ago, I was smart enough to be sure that I married somebody smaller than me. That way, she would represent no physical danger. As I have matured over the years, I realise that there are more ways to be threatened by the Wife than with simple physical violence. Red Cooked Chicken IngredientsIt started when I cooked and photographed one of our family favourites. I was very happy with the outcome and with most of my photos, but not so happy with the final ‘plated shot’. I decided to not post this one. The Wife let me know that I was being ‘too picky’ about my photography. I, knowing that I must strive for higher art and greater things, decided to disagree.

Big mistake. Not that the Wife says or does anything overt in these situations. I just get to know that I am wrong and that She is, and always was, right. An occasional glance. A faint sigh. It nags at me, slowly gnawing away at my conscience until eventually I give in and come around to her way of thinking. I’m not sure how she does it. But she does…

So here goes Red Cooked Chicken with Water Chestnuts and Thai Fragrant Rice (with the uninteresting plated shot).

Red Cooked Chicken

Gratuitous chicken shot. I like to use more brown meat than white. More flavour, for sure.

You will need

  • A chicken and some extra chicken thighs (depending on how many you intend feeding).
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 1 large can of water chestnuts (see side note below)
  • 5cm or 2 inches of good ginger

Side note: As I loaded my car outside his wholesale oriental food business, I had a chat with Justin Chan. He asked me why I used the tinned water chestnuts. “Can I get fresh?” I asked. “We get them in fresh every day.” he replied. “Do they taste much better?” I said. “I don’t know. I’ve never eaten the tinned ones.” he smiled as he helped me put the tins in the car. Next time, it’s fresh for me.

First, chop the chicken into large bite size pieces. I have spared the faint hearted amongst you any action shots. Fry the ginger and spring onions in a little oil and take them out of the wok when they have got a nice high colour.

Spring onions and ginger strips fried.

The spring onions and ginger shreds fired first to flavour the oil.

Then fry off the chicken in batches, browning it as you go.

Red cooked chicken

The chicken being browned in the flavoured oil. Happy enough with this shot.

Drain and wash the water chestnuts and add to the wok. Then add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Season as appropriate with black pepper. It will not need any salt.

Red Cooked Chicken

Red Cooked Chicken starting to come together. Another decent shot.

Cover and cook for about half an hour. Remove the cover and reduce the sauce until it is the consistency that you want. In the meantime, boil your rice and have it ready at the same time or before. The rice will stay warm and perfect for at least 20 minutes as long as you leave the lid on the rice pot.

Red Cooked Chicken

About to plate it up. The final shot or which I am proud.

Then serve the dish, not taking enough time to take a decent photo of the end product. The following will have to do.

Red Cooked Chicken

I thought I had better do a big close up of the plated dish. It should buy me some peace.

The chicken and water chestnuts go incredibly well together. The water chestnuts absorb lots of the flavours yet remain crisp and crunchy. The chicken just falls off the bones. This is an easy meal to prepare.

On reflection, the end shot is not all that bad, is it? Perhaps the Wife was right all along?

Of course she was!

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Latest comments
  • Great post, great pictures… and of course, your wife is right! The photos have made me really hungry now (and I just had lunch for God’s sake!).

    • Thanks Ria. I am feeling a little better about it now.

  • Beautiful, Conor.

  • That looks amazing.

  • This dish sounds fantastic. I do like how the color of the chicken and chestnuts really pops in the final picture.

    • You are too kind. I really am not happy with that pic (dont tell the Wife).

  • I too had no idea you could get water chestnuts fresh. You must post about them when you use them… I can’t wait to hear about them!

    • As soon as I get them, I will be posting, I promise.

  • Very nice, Conor. I love dishes like this one. We have fresh water chestnuts at the local Asian markets. They are a pain to peel but have a sweeter flavor and are a little more crisp. Look for ones with smooth skins that are quite firm and buy more than you will need because you will still get some with bad spots you will have to toss. Also, fresh water chestnuts should be cooked as little as possible.

    • Thanks Richard. Wise words indeed. I will do that.

  • Ha ha! Well she’s your wife, but in general, it’s not good to show things you don’t like, because they will always annoy you and make you feel uncomfortable. That’s what I told my photography students when i was a part time lecturer 😉
    That does look like delicious chicken!

    • Thanks MD. We both know that the Wife is ALWAYS right, even if she is not.

  • Makes sense you can get fresh water chestnuts but I’ve never seen them before. I’ll have to keep my eye out for them. This looks really tasty.

    • It is very easy to cook and very tasty indeed.

  • Is that ginger prepared by your good self? The best shot is the close up of the chicken bubbling away i think. I go for square plates and food-ringed rice it kind of makes it look fancy (I was going to write pretentious but I’m not sure how to spell that).

    • It certainly was. The pic was a bit accidental but the steel bowl had a nice glow. I agree on the best shot. You should try this dish. It is very satisfying.

  • Goodness, the chicken looks AMAZING!

  • Beautiful! I’m a fan on the Asian sautée from waaaay back and coming from a Chinese family background this is like any of the dishes the chefs would churn out, truly delicious.

    I’m a lady-in-training to be always right. We’ve had our moments of he said, she said but in our (very early 5 years now) it’s always encouraging to read of other’s relationship quirks and foibles after many years!

  • I’m inspired, love it!

  • This looks so easy! I will have to try this one!

  • It’s wrong to see those pictures when you’re hungry. Licking my computer screen currently. The close up of the chicken bubbling away got me salivating. The chicken frying shot got me too. Nice recipe. 🙂

    • Thanks Sanjiv, try it. Easy and toothsome.

  • Fresh water chestnuts are kickass. Just a bit fiddly to peel. Unless you have small hobbit like hands…

  • I’m glad Wife got you to post this recipe — it’s a great one. Despite that uninteresting plating shot (wink) I’m imagining how tasty that sauced up chicken and crunchy water chestnuts would be.

    • You should give it a go. It is very easy and tasty.

  • I love red cooked meats. And, as always: The wife was right.

  • It looks delicious! I think you wanted to see a bit of that green onions on the final picture and since it kinda disappeared on the final stage you were missing it! This is one seriously good recipe…I love these flavours!

    • Honest criticism of my last photo. I should have kept some for sprinkling. Well worth cooking though.

  • Fantastic recipe Conor! And you gave me a good laugh. 🙂

  • This sounds delicious! I’ve always used canned water chestnuts as well, but now I am intrigued about using fresh ones 🙂 I love the crunch they give to stir fries!

    • Thanks Andreea, they do bring something special to the proceedings (as does the Wife).

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