Dongbei-Style Braised Chicken Thighs

Northern Chinese Dongbei-Style Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe via Worthy Pause

To preface this post, a small rant.

I don't love calling foods simply "Chinese" or "Indian" or whatever. It's one thing when it's a tiny country like Cuba, but it feels so general when cuisines widely vary from place to place within a huge country like China. It's like calling something "South American" — South America takes up too much surface area of this planet for that to really mean much of anything. I've totally done this myself from time to time (at least once or twice on this blog!) but it doesn't mean I like it. 

I think this peeve comes in equal part from the editor in me. Precise language, people. PRECISE LANGUAGE.

Okay, rant over.

Northern Chinese Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe via Worthy Pause

I had this simple recipe sketched out in my mind and was like, "Oh crap, I'm going to have to call it 'Chinese Chicken' or something. No." Luckily, after doing a little research I found that it seems quite similar to something called 小鸡炖蘑菇. (<-- I wish I knew how to pronounce this word.)

小鸡炖蘑菇 is a stewed chicken and mushrooms dish that's common in the Dongbei region, which is that northeastern most part of China that kind of juts up and out further than the rest of the country. It's like the Maine of China. And this dish is common—understandably so because it's intuitive enough that someone from across the world in Minneapolis would inadvertently make something similar on a Sunday afternoon.

I make no claims of authenticity on this recipe — only deliciousness.

This dish is sort of a deconstructed version of 小鸡炖蘑菇, but many of the elements are the same (chicken, wine/vinegar, soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms). I roasted some bok choy and garlicky mushrooms separately (here's the recipe for those mushrooms and that super-simple bok choy... which you will absolutely want to serve with this chicken. 

Northern Chinese Dongbei-Style Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe via Worthy Pause


Dongbei-Style Braised Chicken Thighs

gluten-free, paleo, whole30-approved | serves 2-4


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or cooking wine)
  • 3 T gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or fresh equivalent)
  • optional: 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • optional: ~1 T honey, to taste
  • optional: black sesame seeds and/or green onions, for garnish
  • a batch of Garlicky Roasted Mushrooms


  1. Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and five-spice powder (optional). Marinate the chicken in the mixture for ~20 minutes. 
  2. Grab a large skillet or a Dutch oven that has a cover. Heat on medium-high.
  3. When the pan is hot, place the chicken thighs flat-side down and brown thoroughly in the pan, uncovered.
  4. Flip and pour the rest of the marinade into the pan. Add a splash or two of water if the marinade isn't covering the bottom of the pan. Put the lid on and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan. 
  6. Deglaze with a little water if the sauce isn't saucy enough anymore. Stir the honey (optional) into the pan sauce and turn off the heat.
  7. Pour the glaze over the chicken and garnish with (optional) sesame seeds and/or green onions.



Northern Chinese Dongbei-Style Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe via Worthy Pause

Let me know what you think, friends!