Red braised chicken with lime, fragrant greens, and soybeans

This dish is my attempt to recreate another restaurant meal I had in Beijing. The actual recipe was made with rabbit and it was completely delicious. I had some trouble getting my hands on fresh rabbit tonight, so instead I used chicken thighs. The flavor was a bit different but still just as good.

The completed dish

The completed dish!

Most of the time here on TastyAsia, when I talk about “braising,” I’m actually describing the Chinese technique of red braising, which means slow cooking in liquid that includes some soy sauce. The soy sauce adds a deep reddish color, hence the name, and it also adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the finished product. This here is a great example.

The chicken is first browned, and then added to a large pot with enough liquid to just about cover.

Meat, at the beginning of the braise

Meat, at the beginning of the braise

The meat will cook in the pot for about an hour. Meanwhile, you can prepare the greens.

Fragrant greens

Fragrant greens: on top are bitter “salad” greens, then in the second row is chopped cilantro (on the left) and roughly torn basil (on the right)

The meat is finished in the braising pot, and then the greens are briefly stir-fried in your wok, along with garlic, ginger, shallot, and pickled chiles.

Garlic, shallots, and chiles. stir-fried briefly in the wok before adding the greens

Garlic, ginger, shallot, and chiles, which will be stir-fried briefly in your wok before adding the greens

The last thing to go into the wok is a handful of fresh soybeans.

Fresh soybeans, or shelled edamame

Fresh soybeans, or shelled edamame

When we had this at the restaurant in Beijing, it was served on a plate lined with a few leaves of fresh lettuce.

Lettuce, ready to assemble the final dish

Lettuce, on a plate, ready to assemble the final dish

Place the meat on top the lettuce.

It's all coming together now

It’s all coming together now

And then spoon the stir-fried vegetables over the meat, and serve.


  1. 2 lbs chicken thighs (skin removed), browned browned for a few minutes on all sides in a non-stick pan (no extra oil required)
  2. 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp Shanxi black vinegar, about 1 L chicken stock or coconut water, and the peel of 1 lime plus that lime’s juice (note: you want to peel the lime very thinly, adding mostly green skin to the liquid, not the pithier white parts)
  3. 4 cloves garlic, 1/2″ ginger, 1/2 shallot, and 4 pickled Thai chiles (seeded), all minced finely
  4. 3 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 1 cup basil, roughly torn and tossed together
  5. 1 cup soybeans


  • After browning the chicken (#1), put it into a a dutch oven or clay pot. Add enough braising liquid (#2) to just about cover, and then boil softly for about an hour until the meat is tender enough to pull apart with chopsticks. Then remove the meat to a cutting board and pull it into bite-sized chunks. (Discard the lime peel.)
  • Heat your wok until barely smoking. Then add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic, ginger, shallot, and chiles (#3) and stir-fry until warm and fragrant. Then add the greens (#4) and stir-fry until everything is warm and wilted. Toss in the soybeans (#5) and stir-fry briefly until hot.
  • Arrange the meat in a layer on a plate, and top with the stir-fried vegetables.
  • Serve with rice and contrasting dishes.

Variations: The most obvious variation would be to make this dish authentic to its roots, which would be to use rabbit instead of chicken. If you use rabbit, you might have to increase the braising time by about 15 minutes. You can also add mushrooms alongside or instead of the greens, and you can think about using other types of beans instead of the brigh green soybeans.

This entry was posted in Braising, Chicken, Greens, Meat, Recipes, Soybeans, Stir-fry, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Red braised chicken with lime, fragrant greens, and soybeans

  1. Pingback: Red-braised pork belly (红烧肉) | TastyAsia

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