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Soy Sauce Chicken

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Why I Love This Recipe

This is one of the simplest, yet savory recipes I know of. With as many chinese restaurants as we have in the tri-state area, you rarely see this on any of their menus. I first had it when the onsite manager of a vendor I managed at Morgan Stanley brought it in. He is chinese, from Taiwan and it is an old(really, really old!) family recipe. Actually, according to him, all chinese families have a recipe similar to this.

I’ve made this for both large and small groups and it always gets raves. Remember, I’m a newbie at writing recipes so please forgive the writing style and hopefully I keep everything in order.

Ingredients You'll Need

• 1/4 cup sesame oil (or toasted sesame oil)
• 1 head garlic, coarsely chopped or crushed
• 1 pint dark soy sauce
• 1 pint light soy sauce
• 1 qt water*
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar
• 1 cup sliced green onion
• 4 star anise (optional but make it taste better to me)
• 2 Tsp Chinese five-spice powder (also optional. I prefer it in but have made without and is still delish)


• About 8lbs of chicken. It can be any type you want. All thighs, all legs, assorted, etc or you can do the chicken whole and cut it up later. Most Chinese families do this.

*Note the amount of water is equal to the volume of soy sauce. If there’s not enough liquid to cover the chicken, either remove a little chicken or if you’re doing a whole chicken and it’s just about covered, add equal parts water and light/dark soy to bring it up. You can kick up the other ingredients by a smidge to compensate.

In a large stockpot, heat sesame oil over med-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients, minus the chicken. Stir to ensure the brown sugar is fully dissolved.

Add chicken and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce to a very low simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours.

It can be served right out of the sauce but if you want to have it with rice, you can take a portion of the sauce and heat it in a smaller saucepan. Thicken it up a bit with flour or cornstarch and spool over the rice.

I like to take the chicken, after it’s cooked and put it on my hot charcoal grill for a couple minutes all sides. If you do this, make sure you have LOTS of Pam on the grill and that you use a big burger flipper and tongs to flip because the meat will fall off the bones and possibly apart it will be so tender.

On an interesting note, my Chinese friend that gave me the recipe told me that most old school Chinese homes have a giant pot of this in their refrigerator at all times. It’s the same sauce and they cook chicken (usually whole) after chicken after chicken in it. All they do is add ingredients accordingly as it gets lower. He told me that it’s not uncommon to have sauce that is 100+ years old (refreshed, of course) continuously either in the fridge or on the stove. I thought that was neat. Kinda like the never ending pot of spaghetti sauce, lol!

If anyone tries this, feedback is appreciated.



Questions, Comments & Reviews

good Soy Sauce Chicken recipes

Hi Eric and everyone :) Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Years ago I received this recipe from an aunt and was so happy to find it again - here! Absolutely! I can attest to the success of leaving or saving a pot of sauce in the fridge and just adding chicken and then adding in additional sauce ingredients as needed! Although I had never heard the tradition the sauce was TOO GOOD to toss! It looks a little scary because it congeals and has a slightly unusual color, BUT I assure you once stirred and heated -- it is better than EVER!

I can't believe I missed this recipe when it was posted. Thank you! I can't wait to try it.

Thanks :D Will have to try this one, it looks SO tasty

This looks delicious! I can imagine the amount of sodium in it but it has to be as good as the pic looks.Yummo!

Hi Eric -

This looks great but I have no idea what light soy sauce is. Also have you ever tried this with ribs?

Babs - just try a small batch. i bet ya love it! =)

Eric - if you say so I will give it a try.

The sugar in it seriously cuts the saltiness, you should try it!

I can't do soy sauce.. too salty for me. I can use low salt soy so maybe this could work. :)

Looks good, and I always have soy sauce in the kitchen!

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