Chicken Stew in Soya Sauce and Sesame Oil

Chicken stew is a common Chinese dish, but is very different from the usual stir-fry. Like braising, stewing is a slow-cook process, which may take up to 4-5 hours if required. After hours of slow-cooking, the seasoning used will be richly absorbed by the meat, and the meat will also be nice and tender.

This can be cooked with a whole chicken (chopped up in small pieces) or just the drumsticks and thighs; but not breast meat on its own otherwise it will be rather tough and less tasty.


  • 6 Chicken drumsticks or 3 thighs (cut at joints)
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 large red onions, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups chicken stock (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh chives, chopped


  1. Mix dark and light soya sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon plain flour together and marinate the chicken with the mixture for at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok on high, brown the chicken for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the onion and carrot chunks and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, and transfer into a pot or claypot. Add in the chicken stock and 6 cups of water (or covering up to 1.5 of the content in the pot).
  4. Covered, bring it to a boil on medium heat, then simmer on the lowest heat you can have, for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the boiling level at all times, and make sure that the cover has a breathing hole so that it does not spill over.
  5. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of plain flour with a little water until pasty, and add it into the cooking to thicken the gravy. Cook for another 20 minutes or till the gravy is reduced to just enough to cover the content.
  6. Add in sea salt, pepper and chives. Serve with hot boiled rice or boiled potatoes.

Versatility Note:

  1. A claypot is ideal, but failing that, a slowcooker or a normal pot with cover will suffice.
  2. For a slightly low fat option, you can throw away the skin. But do not use breast meat thinking that it is a healthier choice. The taste and texture will be disappointing unless you really love tough and tasteless meat.
  3. To have thicker gravy, you can add in a little more flour, or cook it for a longer time.