This beautifully flavoured slow cooker Chinese chicken stew combines tender slow cooked chicken thighs with the freshness of stir fried vegetables. It's an easy meal to prepare in advance and the vegetables are very quick to stir fry just before you plan to have dinner!
I love making this recipe in the slow cooker as all the oriental flaours really soak into the chicken and give it lots of taste. It's also super easy as you just dump everything in and turn it on. The chicken stew can then be cooking in the background as you do other things.
If you love using your slow cooker then this recipe is a great one to add to your list of easy midweek meals.
What ingredients do you need?
You can make this easy Chinese chicken stew with relatively few ingredients. You'll need:
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs - thighs are better for the slow cooker than breast meat as chicken breast go a little dry and grainy.
- Soy sauce - I use light soy
- Rice wine - You can replace it with dry white sherry or dry white wine
- Sesame oil
- Chinese 5 spice - This is a blend of star anise, fennel seeds, szechuan peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon
- A chilli pepper
- Cooking oil - This if for the stir fry. You can use any vegetable oil.
- Mange touts
- Cornflour - This is optional. If you want a thicker stew, you can dissolve it in water and stir it in at the end to thicken the sauce.
How do you make the slow cooker Chinese chicken stew?
The ingredients for the stew can just be dumped into the slow cooker and then cooked on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. There's no need to cook anything first.
The onions, mushrooms and mangetouts are then stir fried and stirred into the stew right at the end.
Why slow cook and stir fry?
It may seem like a lot of effort to slow cook and then stir fry as well. However, the lightly cooked stir fried vegetables are delicious stirred into the slow cooked stew. Although the mushrooms would work really well cooked in the slow cooker with the chicken, stir frying preserves the crunchiness of the mangetouts.
The result is definitely more of a stew than a stir fry. But, because the vegetables are just stir fried they keep their crunch and crispness and that's one of the things I always like about Chinese cooking. The freshness of a really good stir fry.
You can see that the mange touts are a lovely bright green colour rather than the dull green they would have gone if they had been cooked in the slow cooker, even if they had just been put in near the end.
It really is the best of both worlds.
What kind of slow cooker do you need?
Any kind of slow cooker will work. At the moment I use a Crock Pot Express Multi Cooker, which also has pressure cook funtions. I love it as it's so versatile but any slow cooker is fine.
What if I don't have a slow cooker?
This slow cooker Chinese chicken dish could be stir fried instead. Just cut the chicken into strips and cook it until browned, add the other ingredients and continue to stir fry it until the chicken is cooked through.
To really bring out the flavours you could marinate the chicken in the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and five spice powder for an hour before cooking it.
Can you use Chicken breasts for this recipe?
When I first made this slow cooker Chinese chicken I used chicken breasts. However, I now always prefer to use chicken thighs in the slow cooker as they don't dry out as much. They have a much juicier texture and in my opinion at least are way tastier!
However, if you do decide to cook this as a stir fry as I mentioned above, you could definitely use breast meat.
What to serve with this Chinese chicken stew?
I am quite happy to eat this with rice but you could also serve it with noodles.
What can you do with the leftovers?
The leftovers will keep well for about 3 days in the fridge. You can reheat in the microwave or in a covered dish in the oven.
You can also freeze it for up to three months.
More Recipes you Might Like
If you like Chinese five spice, why not try this chicken anise?
Or if you're looking for slow cooker recipes how about one of these?
Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Stew with Stir Fried Vegetables
Ingredients for the Slow Cooker
- 4 Chicken thighs skinless and boneless, diced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp Chinese 5 Spice
- 1 chilli pepper finely sliced
- 2 tsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water (optional)
Ingredients for the Stir Fry
- 1 tbsp oil
- 250 g mushrooms sliced
- 50 g mange touts
- ½ onion sliced
- Put the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Mix together all the other ingredients for the slow cooker, except the cornflour. Pour over the chicken making sure the chicken is coated in the sauce.
- Add about 50ml of water to the slow cooker.
- Cook for 4 hours.
- If the liquid in the slow cooker seems a little thin then heat the stew and stir in the cornflour to thicken it. You may need to transfer it to a saucepan and do this on the hob, depending on the kind of slow cooker you are using.
- Just before you are going to serve the meal, make the stir fry.
- Heat the oil and then fry the mushrooms for a minute. Add the mangetouts. Cook for another minute.
- Stir the vegetables into the slow cooked chicken and then serve with rice.