Get Restaurant Quality Braising Chinese Dishes With This Easy Home Cooking Trick

braising chinese dish

According to Chef Rena, braising is “a cooking method that yields fall-off-the-bone tender meat infused with flavor.”

Braising involves searing meat then simmering in a sauce for flavor. This breaks down tough cuts’ connective tissues, making meat melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Few know there are tricks to fully unlock braising’s potential. Keep reading to discover these secrets!

Key Takeaways

Braising is a method of cooking meat or vegetables by searing them then simmering in a liquid in a covered pot. This allows tough cuts of meat to become very tender by breaking down connective tissues over several hours in the moist heat environment.

Understanding Braising

Braising is one of the most useful cooking techniques for transforming inexpensive cuts of meat like chicken thighs and sliced beef into fall-off-the-bone tender dishes infused with flavor from the braising liquid (1).

The low and slow cooking method allows tough cuts time to break down their connective tissues and collagen, becoming meltingly soft and juicy.

Similar to how Chinese dishes like soy sauce braised chicken or sauce chicken are prepared, braising involves searing meat first to develop fond and enhance flavor, then simmering in a sauce at a gentle temperature just below a boil. This is different from stir frying, which cooks over high heat without any braising liquid.

During braising, a small amount of braising liquid like broth, wine, oyster sauce or soy sauce is used. Hot water may be added if more liquid is needed. Meats are first seared for color and texture, then submerged in the braising liquid and cooked in a covered pot. This ensures foods stay moist as the trapped steam circulates throughout.

Cuts like short ribs that contain lots of collagen benefit tremendously from the low and slow moist cooking environment (2).

Over several hours, the collagen is broken down into gelatin to make the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender while absorbing complex flavors from the braising liquid.

Once fall-off-the-bone soft, the richly flavored braise liquid reduces into a sauce to accompany the dishes.

Braising Easy Home Cooking Trick for Best Results

Choosing the Right Cut of Meat

When choosing a cut of meat for braising, look for ones with connective tissue like pork shoulder, beef chuck or lamb shank (3). This allows the meat to become fall-off-the-bone tender after long, slow cooking. Cuts higher in fat also result in juicier braised meat since fat keeps it from drying out during the long cooking time.

  • Pork shoulder, beef chuck and lamb shanks are good braising cuts
  • They contain collagen that breaks down into gelatin with long, slow braising
  • Higher fat cuts like pork belly stay moist during long cooking
braising chinese dish

Preparing the Braising Liquid

The braising liquid is key to infusing flavor into the meat over many hours. A classic liquid contains some combination of:

  • Beef or chicken stock
  • Wine, beer or water
  • Soy sauce
  • Aromatics like garlic, ginger and scallion
  • Bay leaves, thyme, oregano or other fresh herbs

Adjust seasonings to taste but don’t oversalt before the long, slow cooking process. A well-balanced braising liquid enhances easy Chinese recipes like braised pork ribs.

Cooking Methods

Meat can be braised on the stove top or in the instant pot for faster results. In the oven or slow cooker, cooking for a longer period at low heat (250°F or less) allows collagen to break down gradually:

  • Stovetop: Brown meat, add liquid and simmer covered 2-3 hours
  • Oven: Brown meat, add liquid, cover pot and braise 2.5-4 hours
  • Instant pot: Brown meat, add liquid, pressure cook 50-90 minutes
  • Slow cooker: No browning, low heat 6-8 hours

The longer cooking times and lower heat results in incredibly tender braised meat perfect for shredding or slicing and serving over steamed rice.

Classic Red Braised Chicken Recipe

I’ll share a classic red braised chicken recipe that’s sure to become a new family favorite! Let’s get started.


  • 1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


Red braising, also known as hongshao or da pan ji in Chinese, is a cooking method that results in fall-off-the-bone tender meat infused with savory sauce flavors. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Toss the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and rice wine/sherry in a bowl. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes per batch. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions to the pot and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot along with the carrots, remaining soy sauce, rice wine/sherry, brown sugar, star anise, and cinnamon. The liquid should nearly cover the chicken. If needed, add water.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is very tender.
  6. Remove chicken and vegetables to a plate. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Simmer the sauce uncovered for 10 more minutes to thicken.
  7. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot to coat with the sauce. Serve warm over rice. Enjoy!

There you have it – a classic Chinese chicken dish that’s perfect for those cold winter nights. The long, slow cooking process results in fall-off-the-bone tender meat and a rich, savory sauce. Family and friends are sure to love it! Let me know if you have any other questions.

YouTube video

Credit : Spice N’ Pans


What is hong shao rou?

Hong shao rou is a classic Chinese red braised pork belly dish (4). It is made by braising pork belly in a flavored sauce made with soy sauce, shaoxing wine, star anise, and other aromatics. The long, slow braising process tenderizes the pork and infuses it with rich flavors.

How long does it take to braise chicken?

When braising chicken, the cook time will depend on the cut and size of the chicken pieces. Chicken thighs and drumsticks typically need 1.5-2 hours of braising, while whole chicken or bone-in chicken breasts may take close to 3 hours.

Remember to braise the chicken at a low simmer in a covered pot, turning occasionally, until it is very tender.

Can I use chicken wings for braising?

Yes, chicken wings can be braised using the same method as other chicken cuts. They have a lot of collagen and connective tissue so they especially benefit from the long, low heat of braising which breaks it all down, making the meat fall off the bone. Chicken wings take about 2 hours to braise until very tender.

What is chinese braised chicken?

One of the most popular chinese braised chicken dishes in Chinese cuisine is called Chicken Sweet and Sour. It involves braising bone-in chicken pieces like thighs or drumsticks in a sauce made of regular soy sauce, shaoxing wine, brown sugar or rock sugar, and often ginger and star anise. The sauce infuses the chicken with rich savory and slightly sweet flavors.

What can I use instead of shaoxing wine?

If you don’t have shaoxing wine on hand, dry sherry is a good substitute for it in Chinese pork braising recipes. You can also use rice vinegar, mirin (Japanese rice wine), or dry vermouth. Water can also replace the wine, but the flavors won’t be as rich. Using about 1/4 cup of liquid instead of the wine is a good rule of thumb.

Can you stir fry instead of braise?

While stir frying is a very common Chinese cooking method, it isn’t a suitable substitution for braising. Braising involves long, slow cooking in liquid to break down tough connective tissues and infuse flavors. Stir frying is a high heat method that browns and cooks food quickly. The results would not be as tender or richly flavored if attempting to “stir fry” braised recipes. For the best results, braise as the recipe intends.

What is chinese braised beef?

One classic Chinese braised beef dish is Red Braised Beef (Hong Shao Niu Rou). It’s made by braising beef brisket or beef shank in a flavorful red braising sauce made of soy sauce, brown sugar or rock sugar, star anise and Chinese cooking wine. The sauce is thick, glossy and darkly caramelized. It gives the beef a rich savory-sweet flavor and incredibly tender texture after the long braising.

What is the difference between chicken noodle soup and chinese braised beef noodle soup?

Chicken noodle soup uses shredded or diced chicken in a light broth, whereas Chinese braised beef noodle soup (Niu Rou Mian) is a richer, heartier soup. It involves braising beef shank, brisket or other cuts in a soy sauce-based broth flavored with star anise and other spices. The fall-off-the-bone braised beef is then served in the fragrant broth over wheat noodles.


In closing, braising is an easy and rewarding cooking method that transforms inexpensive cuts of meat into fall-off-the-bone tender masterpieces.

With just a few ingredients and a little patience, you can enjoy restaurant-quality Chinese food in your own home. Remember to choose collagen-rich cuts, make a flavorful braising liquid with aromatics, and cook low-n-slow.

I hope sharing this time-tested technique and yummy chicken recipe has inspired you to get braising! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different meats, sauces and seasonings. You’re sure to find a new favorite family meal.

Now get cooking – and let me know how it turns out in the comments below!



Related Articles

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!