A very popular and delicious Cantonese dish is Shoyu (soy sauce) Chicken. It’s very easy to make and the emphasis is on the technique of very gently cooking the chicken. Give it a try!
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs. (or you could use cut-up pieces)
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. canola or peanut oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly mashed to release the garlic oils
- 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced (you can leave the skin on)
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inches)
- 4 green onions, 2 roughly chopped and 2 minced to use for garnish
- 15-20 white peppercorns, whole
- 1 tsp. dried chili flakes
- 1 cup good quality light soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 tsp. dried orange peel
- 1 tsp. anise extract
- 2 Tbsp. turbinado or rock sugar
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oils over medium heat and briefly saute the garlic, chopped green onions, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and chili flakes until fragrant – just a few minutes.
- Add all the liquids along with the dried orange peel, sugar, and anise extract to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the pot, making sure the sauce covers the chicken. Add additional water, if necessary.
- Let the chicken simmer very gently in the sauce until cooked and tender, about an hour. The sauce should just barely bubble.
- Remove the chicken and test for doneness. It should read 165 F. with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty portion of a thigh.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes. During the resting time, use a sieve to drain the solids from the sauce and discard the solids, pouring the sauce into a second saucepan
- Bring the leftover sauce to a boil and reduce until you have a light “gravy” to drizzle onto the chicken.
- Cut the chicken into pieces, pour sauce over it and serve garnished with minced green onions.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.