Chinese soy sauce chicken is known as 豉油鸡 and it is a featured dish from Chinese Cantonese cuisine. I have been living in Guangdong province around 4 years and this soy sauce chicken is always on our dinner list. It should be as popular as char siu when steamed with steamed rice.
One of the essential key step for this easy and brilliant chicken recipe is to purchase high quality soy sauce. We combine light soy sauce (mainly for the flavor) and dark soy sauce (mainly for coloring). If you need more information about basic Chinese sauces and seasonings, check Chinese sauces.
Perfect soy sauce chicken has tense skins and super tender meat inside. The sauce remaining after well cooked is extremely yummy. So do not waste it. You can drizzle on the chicken, or mix with the rice or save it for a bowl of upper level of soy sauce noodles.
- Choose organic tender chicken under 1000kg is highly recommended for this recipe. Those young chicken is easy to cook and tender than older ones.
- Clay pot or other thick pot with brilliant heat preservation and heat conduction, so the tender chicken can be cooked with a very gentle heat. As a consequence, the meat can be more evenly done.
- It is ok when you feel the chicken is too tender and there might be some very light pink color in the bones. Gentle cooking can help use bringing back a degree of tenderness and when the inter temperature reaches around 160 degree F (70 degree C), the potential harmful bacteria can be killed.
- During the cooking process, cook the legs slightly for a longer time and the breast for a shorter time. Comparing with the thigh, breast is much tender and begins to getting dry when the temperature exceed 68 degree C. While the chicken thigh should be well cooked around 73 to 75 degree C.
Firstly, remove the chicken feet (you can save it for a stock) and clean the main body. Add all of the marinating ingredients and massage the chicken for couple of minutes. Set aside for at least 3 hours. Turn over at least twice during the time.
After marinating, the chicken should be well colored all around.
Transfer the marinating juice to a pot (just enough to hold the chicken, do not use oversized pot with lots of empty spaces). Add around 1 cup of chicken stock or water. Bring it to a boiling.
Place the chicken in and keep spreading the sauce on the chicken with the help of a scoop. After adding the chicken, the temperature of the liquid will drop quickly. Use medium to slow fire and keep the liquid almost simmering but not strongly boiling. This is the key to keep the chicken tender.
Simmer one side for 10 to 12 minutes and then turn over, simmer the other side and the stomach for another 10 to 15 minutes until ¾ of the sauce are cooked off. Then cover the lid and let the chicken stay inside for 10 minutes (continue heating the chicken with the remaining heat of the pot).
Transfer out and then cut into large bite size pieces.
The best way is to serve it with steamed rice. In addition, you can spread the remaining liquid on the rice and make the dish ever better. Enjoy!
By the way, if you love to cook whole chicken, check salt baked chicken (盐焗鸡) and Chinese style braised chicken with spices and soy sauce (脱骨卤鸡) and Chinese roasted chicken (广式烧鸡). In summer time, you must try tender and milk white cut chicken and spicy Sichuan mouthwatering chicken.
Easy Chinese Soy Sauce Chicken
- 1 whole organic chicken ,800g
- steamed rice for serving
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock or water
- ¾ cup light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. rock sugar
- 1 inch root ginger ,smashed
- 3 scallions ,cut into small sections
- 4 garlic cloves ,smashed
- 2 star anises
- 1 small piece of cinnamon
- 1 small piece of sand ginger 沙姜，recommended to include it or you can use dried ones
- ⅓ cup rice wine
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- Firstly, remove the chicken feet and clean the main body. Add all of the marinating ingredients and massage the chicken for couple of minutes. Set aside for at least 3 hours. Turn over at least twice during the time.
- Transfer the marinating juice to a pot (just enough to hold the chicken, do not use oversized pot). Add around 1 cup of chicken stock or water. Bring it to a boiling.
- Place the chicken in and keep spreading the sauce on the chicken with the help of a scoop. After adding the chicken, the temperature of the liquid will drop quickly. Use medium to slow fire and keep the liquid almost simmering but not boiling. This is the key to keep the chicken tender.
- Simmer one side for 10 to 12 minutes and then turn over, simmer the other side and the stomach for another 10 to 15 minutes until ¾ of the sauce are cooked off. Cover the lid and let the chicken stay inside for 10 minutes, with no heat and covered.
- Transfer out and then cut into large bite size pieces.
- The best way is to serve it with steamed rice. In addition, you can spread the remaining liquid on the rice and make the dish ever better.
Seems like a Christmas turkey! Yahmmmm 😛 😀
Haha, that's an interesting idea! For me, this one is much easier.
I am a super big fan of Shredded Ginger Fried Chicken. The ginger has to be just right. I am new in Kamloops and looking to find a great Chinese place to replace the one I had in Chicago. Any great priced places in town?
I am sorry Bryan, I have not been Kamloops so I cannot provide any useful information and the restaurant. Wish you good luck on the following search.
Bryan Flakes, you can go to T&T Supermarket in Vancouver. I am not sure whether you can find T&T Supermarket in Kamloops. I used to live in Vancouver for a decade where I could find most Asian products in T&T Asian Supermarket.
Is 10 minutes enough time to cook an 800g whole chicken? The time seems kinda short.
Shorter time is to make sure the chicken as tender as possible. 12 minutes will be great for chicken under 800g. For larger ones, cook it for another 2 to 4 minutes.
Love your passion for good food....Need your guidance...I am in the US and in my china town I see lot of soy sauce brands ...lee kum kee, prb, kimlan , koon chun , kikkoman , japnese tamaris and even korean soy sauces... ..Please recommend the best light and dark soy that I can buy for chinese cooking and I plan to use your site to start learning chinese cooking ......I prefer soy sauce with just soy, water ,salt and a little wheat ...Please let me know. I am really scared of added sugars and msg and like it to be naturally fermented.
Among those brands you mentioned, I only tried Lee Kum Kee. So I am sorry that I do not think I can provide valuable suggestion about which one is the best. However I use Lee Kum Kee a lot in my daily cooking.
Thanks Elaine for your input ...I shall check out lee kumm kee ..thx
My pleasure Dan. Happy cooking ahead.
Lee Kum Kee is quite famous.
Yes, and most of time I choose it because it always works perfectly.
Do you have the video of this ?
and one more question: what is the difference between light soy sauce and dark soy sauce?
and what is the cooking wine that you are using?
Light soy sauce(生抽) has a lighter color than dark soy sauce and it mainly used for adding the flavor. So for most Chinese stir-fry recipe, if only soy sauce is called, use light soy sauce!
Dark soy sauce(老抽) is the common soy sauce with caramel. So the color is darker than light soy sauce. It is mainly used for adding the color of the dish. For the red-cooking dishes, dark soy sauce usually is used.
And basically, I am using Shaoxing cooking wine. You can use any type available in Chinese gourmet store.
I think 10 or 12 minutes is not enough to push the heat to 80 ° C into the chicken, which is a necessity to kill all dangerous germs they may have. Everybody loves his meat tender, but honestly, I do not think you had the heat unto the bones. I look at the pics and worry. ... check with a meat thermometer when in doubt (as I am)
If you read the recipe, it does clearly state 10 mins on each side, then 10 mins on the breast,
followed by 10 mins resting time away from the heat.
Total cooking time 40 mins.
Today I made this recipe and love the taste of it.
However I have one question. My chicken (with the skin) was pale and did not have the beautiful colour your chicken has in the picture. I marinaded the chicken for 2 hrs, and even after cooking it still was almost white. Yes, I tunred the chicken during the cooking process. When I removed the skin the chicken meat adapted the colour. Do you maybe have a suggestion on why my chicken (with the skin) was pale?
Keep up your great work. So many people enjoy your website.
Elaine, When I used Google to translate 酱油 and 豉油 they both translated into just soy sauce, with photos of Kikkoman. What is the difference between these two terms? My mom was from Hong Kong but passed many years ago, and I love to remember her by cooking Chinese food.
That's a good question. In Cantonese cuisine, lots of people name combined soy sauce as 豉油. But I believe you are referring to seafood soy sauce (蒸鱼豉油) which is developed on soy sauce. They are quite similar but different in intensities of umami.
Jeffrey L Evans
Elaine: You list 1 cup unsalted chicken stock or water in the ingredients, but you don't mention it again in your cooking instructions. What are we meant to do with the 1 cup unsalted chicken stock or water?
Jeffrey L Evans
Also, Elaine, when we reach the point of cooking off 3/4 of the liquid and cover the pot for 10 minutes, do we turn of the heat and let the chicken sit in the covered pot with no heat or continue cooking the chicken covered at medium heat for 10 minutes?
Chicken stock or water should be add in the simmering pot with the marinating sauce. Yes, in the last 10 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the lid. Just let the chicken stay for 10 minutes. Thanks for such a great comment.