I first blogged about soy sauce chicken back in October, 2007, when my mother showed me her simple but fool-proof method for this Cantonese home-style dish. Really, who can resist juicy chicken wings braised in a bath of soy sauce, garlic, cinnamon, and star anise? (Probably only vegetarians and the alliumphobic.) I recently updated this recipe with revised instructions and new photos. Hope you enjoy revisiting soy sauce chicken as much as I did!
The Cantonese often go ga-ga over Hainanese chicken, a dish prepared by boiling a whole chicken in pork and chicken stock. It originated on the island of Hainan, became a national dish of Singapore, and is enjoyed anywhere on the globe where the Cantonese dine.
Chicken without sauce allows you to taste the freshness of the skin and meat, much like eating shrimp with nothing but a spritz of lemon. But no offense to Hainanese chicken – sometimes your tastebuds just cry out for something savory that just melts off the bone.
Soy-braised chicken is a simple casserole dish can be whipped up within 30 or 40 minutes. A Dutch oven or earthenware casserole dish is ideal, but a medium sized pot also works. (My mother believes that moist-cooking methods with a lot of soy sauce is bad for metals. I haven’t had too much problem aside from marks on my stainless steel cookware that can be easily scrubbed off with steel wool, but maybe some food scientists out there can explain the cause?)
And just a note – you’ll definitely want to prepare a side of rice or plain noodles in broth head of time, to soak up all the extra sauce.
Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 3 cups water (more if needed to cover the chicken at least 3/4 of the way)
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, drummettes and wings separated
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 pieces star anise
- 1 scallion, shredded or chopped
- In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the chicken, soy sauce, and water over medium flame. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Make sure heat is as low as can be without turning off; simmering soy sauce can easily become rapidly boiling soy sauce, which can easily become a big mess to clean up.
- Add the ginger, garlic, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, and sugar. Allow the chicken to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or up an hour if you want falling-of-the-bone tenderness. Ladle the chicken and sauce into a deep platter. Garnish with scallions and prepare to enjoy some savory, succulent chicken.