Soy Sauce Chicken

From Tanya Eats

Soy sauce chicken. Its name denotes this is a simple meal that is anything but simple...well, except in preparation. Its simplicity in preparation is ridiculous and its intricate flavors are equally ridiculous. And that, my friends, is fabulous! Soy sauce chicken is Cantonese in origins...see yu gai is what our family calls it...my father's side, so in Toishan (Toy-san) you'd say see yu gai. You have now learned almost half of my Chinese vocabulary.

See the lovely star anise above? Well, if you haven't used or tried it before, go out and get yourself some! You can get a good-sized bag of these puppies pretty cheap at your local Asian/International market. They're sweet licorice-ish flavor is an integral part of this dish. You cannot...CANNOT make it without. Well, at least my version.

From Tanya Eats

Another fun ingredient our family uses...rock sugar. See the boulders sticking out in the soy sauce soupy goodness? You need them. I guess you could use brown sugar, but I was raised using these bad boys and will stick to them. Plus, I just remember my paternal grandma giving my sister and I little pieces of these to eat when we were kids. I've continued that tradition with my little rugrats.

Alrighty, enough babbling...

Soy Sauce Chicken (Li-Lee style)

  • 1bunch of Spring Onions, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
  • Ginger (a good 3-inch piece or so), sliced and smashed
  • Star Anise, anywhere from 3-4 pieces (like my mama) or a good handful (like me)
  • Rock Sugar, 1 box (typically 14.1 oz.)
  • Soy Sauce, 1.5 cups or more (I usually do enough to submerge the chicken, but you could do more or less. If doing less, flip chicken over during braising process)
  • 2 T. Oil
  • Chicken pieces
  • Sherry, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To start, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil up in a stockpot. Throw in spring onions and ginger. Allow to get fragrant and watch to make sure they don't burn. Pour in soy sauce, proceeding with caution since you are adding a liquid to hot oil. Add the star anise and rock sugar. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so while you prep the chicken. Make sure all that good rock sugary goodness is dissolved too.

At this point, trim away excess fat from the chicken. I'm not sure if I'd recommend removing the skin since the meat might get too salty. But, definitely trim away any excess fat since that all melts into the pot and makes for one greasy soupy mess. My maternal grandfather (who just celebrated his 99th birthday and who studied with chefs in Hong Kong) likes to rub the chicken with sherry first to enhance the brown color the chicken gets in this dish. I do it when I remember. The final photo is reflective of chicken not rub in sherry....since I didn't remember about the sherry-rubbing until I started writing this. I definitely do it when I remember...'cause my grandpa did it.

Throw the chicken into the pool of wonderful sweet savory soy saucy goodness. Season with some fresh ground pepper.

From Tanya Eats

Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve with rice and veggies and you've made an authentic Chinese (Cantonese, if you need the specific region) dish!


From Tanya Eats


Sara Reid said...

I just love this post.. I am crazy about chicken with soya sauce..also i know all benefits of soya sauce which contain higher level of sodium. Thanks a lot ..

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Sri said...

This looks absolutely divine. I have to try it.
BTW, I checked out Trader's Joe about a month back. WOW!!! I'm impressed. Love it.
Anyway, do you know of any good Asian...like Thai or Indonesian (if any) restaurants in VA BEach/Chesapeake area? There's one closeby but it was kinda mediocre. :D

Tanya said...

Sri! Sorry Hun, I haven't checked my blog lately! We are in the wasteland of good Asian restaurants here. The only real authentic Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant is Jade Villa in the Pembroke/Downtown VA Beach area (specifically VA Beach Blvd & Independence). There is a Hawaiian place in VA Beach, but never having been to Hawaii, I can't speak of it's authenticity...Aloha BBQ on Princess Anne (it's definitely more Thai than anything)....good and cheap! Vietnamese, we go to Pho 78 in the TImberlake Shopping Center (VA Beach). I know there's supposed to be a Vietnamese place in the Sam's shopping center in Chesapeake, but we haven't been there. Again, I save our Asian outings for when we go back home to DC on the weekends!! ;o) Still...those places aren't too bad. One more...we used to go to this Korean restaurant called Han Woo Ri on Baker Road in VA Beach...but that was when we were last stationed here in 2006. We haven't been back since we moved back here. Good luck though...food places here pretty much stink! ;o)

I'm glad you like TJs! Love that place! Also, if you need an Asian/International supermarket...Fresh World (super huge) on Lynnhaven Road and Four Seasons on Kellam (really close to Jade Villa)...both in VA Beach.

Let me know if you need anything else!

Anonymous said...

So happy to have found your recipe. I was writing about see yu gai but didn't even know how to spell it. Your recipe looks wonderful. If you check my blog you will read about Lee. When I showed him your recipe, he remarked that he never knew what to do with the star anise in the cabinet.