Sunday, 20 November 2016

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Recipe - How to Cook a Michelin Star Dish at Home

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

Hong Kong style soya sauce chicken is one of my favourite dishes.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

This staple dish we learnt from our Hong Kong school mates was a life saver during our lean student years in Canada in the 1980s (at that time, SGD1 was worth a mere 60 cents Canadian). HK soya sauce chicken was a CDN1 do-it-yourself meal - sumptuous and scrumptious protein for two persons.

You see, frozen chicken is sold at CDN99 cents a bird at the supermarket but they were frozen rock solid, so they were basically flavourless meat. Cooking in soy sauce made the tasteless chicken more palatable, no, actually delicious. So, we cooked and ate lots of it.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

Returning to Singapore, we still cook it at home and occasionally get it at Chinatown food centre where there are several stalls serving HK soya sauce chicken.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

Our favourite was Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle 香港油雞飯麵 👈 click. It was inexpensive and good.



But, the queue got extremely long after Liao Fan was awarded a Michelin Star in 2016 - the first hawker stall in the world to receive such an honour.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe-How-to-Cook-Michelin-Star-Dish

We haven't got a chance to try it again since....

Here's how we cook HK soya sauce chicken at home and still do to this day.

List of ingredients

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

1. Chicken (of course...... )

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

2. Dark soy sauce
3. Light soy sauce
4. Sesame oil
5. Chinese cooking wine
6. Black vinegar
7. Cooking oil

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

8. Brown sugar
9. Star anise
10. Cloves
11. Cinnamon
12. White pepper
13. Garlic cloves
14. Ginger
15. Spring onion and parsley (for garnishing).

Method

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

1. Heat up your wok. Sauté the garlic cloves, ginger, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon in a little hot cooking oil in low heat till the aroma is released.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

2. Add the dark soy sauce (1 cup), light soy sauce (½ cup), black vinegar (1 tablespoon), Chinese cooking wine (1 tablespoon), sesame oil (1 tablespoon) and water (4 cups) into the wok. Bring to boil.

Coffee-Cup

I measure with the same cup I use for my coffee 😄

3. Add brown sugar (8 tablespoons).

4. Add a dash of pepper, if you like a subtle spiciness.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

5. Bring the concoction to boil. Do taste tests, adding soy sauce or brown sugar until the desired balance of savouriness and sweetness is obtained.

6. When satisfied with the taste, transfer the concoction from the wok to a stock pot. Bring the concoction in the stock pot to boil with high heat. (You may prefer to fry your spices directly in the stock pot - then, you can skip the step of transferring the stock from the wok to the stock pot.)

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

7. Gently lay the cleaned and washed chicken into the boiling dark brown concoction (with the breast facing down).

8. Keep at high heat and bring the concoction back to boil (bubbling and churning in the pot).

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

9. Turn the chicken over with the breast facing up. The cavity should be fully flooded and the leg joint near the hip should be under the concoction. Top up with boiling water, if necessary, but make sure to keep the breast above the water line (if you like the breast slightly pink and more juicy).

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

Alternatively, submerge the whole bird fully in stock, if you like every part cooked through. (If you choose this, adjust portions accordingly i.e. more sauces, more water.)

10. When the stock is boiling steady, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a good fitting lid.

11. Let the chicken poach slowly for 30 minutes in the residual heat of the boiled soya sauce based concoction.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

12. After 30 minutes, remove the whole bird from the stock pot.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

13. Let the cooked bird rest for 10 minutes until it is cool enough to handle and cut.

14. Chop and serve 😋 (We can also eat it whole, simply by ripping the tender bird apart with our fingers 😄 )

15. When the stock has cooled, freeze it and it can be re-used many times simply by topping up with water, sauces and spices as desired. Old stock like good old wine tastes better with age.

Taste Notes

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

Good HK soya sauce chicken is tender and juicy. The browned skin is slippery smooth and the white meat inside is tenderly juicy.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

The flavour is a balance of layered savouriness and sweetness. Even the breast meat is tender and juicy with a slight natural chicky sweetness. The spices like cloves, star anise, cinnamon and white pepper add their characteristic subtle tastes into the stock which cling to the chicken skin. The black vinegar add a very subtle tang to the stock.

Notes

I usually use small birds of about 1kg weight as our stock pots at home are small.

Soya-Sauce-Chicken
Pink or cooked through? It's a matter of personal preference 😃

Poaching the bird for 30 minutes will result in slightly pink meat, especially at the leg joint. If you prefer your chicken cooked through, just poach it for 35 minutes i.e. 5 minutes more.

There is no need to marinate the chicken. Just rub with salt, rinse with water and pat dry will do.

Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Recipe

👉 Try it 😊 Hong Kong soya sauce chicken is a delicious, healthy and affordable dish. The difficulty level is not high. Most of us can achieve good results at home on first try, if not, after a couple of attempts. (For first attempt, suggest cooking it through i.e. poach for 35 minutes.)

Would love to hear from you about any tweaks to this dish to make it better 😀 

This is a Halal dish (by using a Halal certified bird and leaving out the cooking wine).

Return to Johor Kaki homepage.

20 comments:

  1. Bravo Johorkaki! Interesting post!

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  2. That chook is succulent indeed! Nice!

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  3. Oh wow! This is my recent addition after someone recommended to try in the Hong Kong restaurant laden area of Richmond, BC. I didn't know you were a student here in the 80s. So was I! Which city and college did you go to. I'll try this recipe. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Memorial U in St. John's on the wind swept island of Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast :-D

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  4. thanks Tony. which is you in thr group picture of handsome young men and beautiful ladies?

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  5. very kam siah (thank you) for this.....

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    1. You are most welcome. Hope you like it too :-D

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  6. Thank you for yr recipe. May I check at point no.10 do I off the fire immediately after turning the chicken over or do I wait for a while? Thanks !

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    Replies
    1. hi Marcia, after turning the chicken over, wait a little while for the stock to boil bubbling steady. Then, turn off the heat or fire, and cover tightly.

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  7. Thanks for the great recipe Tony. Gonna try it soon.
    Btw, where to find the Bai Sui Ren vinegar in S'pore?

    Joe

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    1. I just took whatever was sitting on my kitchen shelf ;-p We bought it some time ago at a traditional Chinese medical shop in Johor Bahru. I forgot exactly where. Actually, any aromatic black vinegar will work for this recipe. Thank you.

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    2. Thx. Can use the Teochew type black vinegar (used in bak chor mee)?

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    3. Yes, I would use that too. It's aromatic and tangy.

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  8. "Hey Tony, I am mighty impressed that the poached chicken can be this good. It was easy to do with tasty outcome.

    The chicken was tender and the sauce penetrated through the chicken. Love the taste complexion and depth. Sweet, savory, tangy; all blended into one wonderful marriage.

    I will half the 6 cloves to customize more to our liking.

    Thank you for showing me how, Tony. My friends are going to have a few chicky treats. 😉 "

    Exported fromJill Chua's comment on Facebook.

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  9. wine and black vinegar substitute, please? Thank you!

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  10. Thanks. I'm going to try it.

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome. Hope you like it too :-D

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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