1. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the chunks of chicken and massage them together.
2. Soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in water for 1 hour to rehydrate them.
3. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots, and sauté them for 1 minute.
4. Push all of the vegetables to the side and add the sugar to the middle of the pot. Allow the sugar to caramelize to a dark amber color, about 3 minutes, then add the chicken into the pot and stir-fry quickly for about 1 minute.
5. Add the Shaoxing wine, and stir and scrape the pot to get all the caramel to melt into the liquid. Cook off the alcohol for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce, dark soy and star anise to the pot. When it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, and add the chicken stock.
6. Skim the surface of the braising liquid by removing the floating protein gunk, and then add the shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts.
7. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
8. Adjust seasoning with salt before serving.