Paleo Shanghai Braised Chicken

Shanghai braised chicken in the pot

Shanghai braised chicken in the pot

I’ve been wanting to Paleoize this dish for some time now, and thankfully finally found the time and  made the effort a few days ago.

When people think of Chinese cuisine there is sometimes a tendency to concentrate on the stir-fried dishes to the exclusion of, primarily, the braised dishes.

This is a real shame, because they are fantastic, especially during this time of the year when the days grow shorter and the temperatures plummet.

This Paleo version of Shanghai Braised Chicken certainly got a hearty thumbs up from all of Clan Paleovirtus.

Next up – the Paleoification of Chinese Braised Beef. Watch this space…

Paleo Shanghai Braised Chicken


  • 8 chicken legs, weighing about 1kg total
  • a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, whites only, cut into quarters
  • 4 tbsp sake, plus extra for deglazing – see Notes
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce – see Notes
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stalks trimmed
  • a good handful bamboo shoots
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 sticks of celery, roll cut
  • 1 medium carrot, roll cut
  • 5 spice powder
  • coconut oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Pat the chicken legs dry. Sprinkle them with the merest dusting of 5 spice powder. Season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add half of the chilli, ginger, garlic, and spring onions. Stir fry for about 1 minute, in order to infuse the oil with the various flavours. Add half of the chicken legs, and fry until nicely browned, turning once. Transfer the chicken legs and vegetables to a large saucepan. Deglaze the frying pan with a little more sake, and add the fond to the saucepan too. Clean and dry the frying pan, and repeat this procedure for the other chicken legs.
  • Place the sake, fish sauce, coconut sugar, bamboo shoots, celery, and carrot into the saucepan, together with enough water to half cover the chicken. Bring up to a boil, drop to a low simmer, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, turn the chicken, add the shiitake mushrooms, stir well, replace the lid, and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • After the half hour mark, check the chicken for doneness – it should have lost its raw, pink colour. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove the saucepan from the heat. Serve in bowls. We usually eat this dish together with a side of egg fried cauliflower rice.


Depending on your own personal Paleo preferences, you may not want to use the sake. If you don’t, simply leave it out of the stock, and deglaze the frying pan with either water or stock.

To make the dish truly Paleo, get hold of fish sauce that contains fish, water, and salt. You’re probably best looking in an Asian store for genuine Thai fish sauce, although if you’re in Britain Tesco’s own fish sauce fits the bill. I currently use Thanh Ha Phu Quoc.

Shanghai braised chicken

Shanghai braised chicken


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One thought on “Paleo Shanghai Braised Chicken

  1. Pingback: Luscious Leftovers – Return of the Frankensoup | PALEOVIRTUS

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