Easy Oriental Part 11 – Never Had Cold, Soy Braised Chicken

Soy Braised ChickenThis is one of the easiest oriental dish I have ever cooked. The only difficulty is in carving the chicken. The oriental style of bird slicing involves chopping through flesh and bone. This requires a fair deal of heavy-handed work. This is best for authenticity but, those weak-willed amongst you can carve it in a western fashion. On the positive side of things, this will feed five to six people and they will all want you to cook it again and again. I have never tasted it cold. If you prepare it right, neither will you.

The ingredients list is pretty short for something so delicious. Having good chicken stock really helps with the intense flavour. Having a really good chicken helps too.

The ingredients

  • 1 good quality chicken
  • 500 ml (1 pint) of chicken stock
  • 100 ml of dark soy sauce
  • 100 ml of light soy sauce
  • 100 ml of rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (any type will do)
  • 8 or 10 spring onions
  • 5 cm (2 inches) of fresh ginger
  • 2 or 3 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil

First mix the soy sauces, the rice wine and the sugar. This sets up a couple of pouring shots. If I show you these, it will make the dish look more technical as there is a measure on the side of the jug.

Technical shot number one. The dark soy sauce goes in.

Technical shot number one. The dark soy sauce goes in.

Followed by shot number 2…

Technical shot number two. The light soy sauce follows suit.

Technical shot number two. The light soy sauce follows suit.

Three follows two…

The Chinese Rice Wine goes in next.

The Chinese Rice Wine goes in next.

I won’t bore you with the sugar pouring shot but I threw in the sugar and stirred it all in. Next, chop the ginger. There is a lot of it. Slice it fine.

Lots of ginger help make a big, punchy flavour.

Lots of ginger help make a big, punchy flavour.

Place the chicken in a big bowl. Mix the ginger and the other marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken.

Baste the chicken in the mixture. until it is all a nice brown colour.

Baste the chicken in the mixture. until it is all a nice brown colour.

Cover and leave the chicken to absorb the flavours for a couple of hours, turning the bird every half hour or so. Use the time to build your strength for the chicken slicing to come. The spring onions also need to be sliced. Cut them into 5cm (2 inch) pieces.

This shot is only to show you the lovely green of the fresh spring onions.

This shot is only to show you the lovely green of the fresh spring onions.

Heat some oil in a wok.
Side note on promotional stuff: If you are lucky enough to have had free samples of Donegal Rapeseed Oil sent to you, use this. If not, go out and buy some, its delicious. 

Joking aside, the rapeseed oil has a lovely flavour and a high smoking point. Excellent for the wok.

Joking aside, the rapeseed oil has a lovely flavour and a high smoking point. Excellent for the wok.

Fry the spring onions until they start to go a vibrant green.

Another gratuitous 'green greens' shot.

Another gratuitous ‘green greens’ shot.

Drain and add the chicken (gently) and brown it (also gently) on all sides. Then add the marinade to the wok.

Rich sauce makes for a tasty dish.

Rich sauce makes for a tasty dish.

Then add the chicken stock and the star anise. I used three because I love the flavour. It works beautifully with the chicken.

The stock is gloopy because it is good, thick, protein rich, home made stock.

The stock is gloopy because it is good, thick, protein rich, home-made stock.

Side note on making your own chicken stock. Do it and freeze it. It will lift your dishes from the ordinary to the very chickeny. This is a good thing.

Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally, to cook the entire bird. Take it out of the sauce and let it rest for 10 minutes while you make the gravy.

A totally gratuitous resting chicken shot. There for my amusement rather than your edification.

A totally gratuitous resting chicken shot. There for my amusement rather than your edification.

Strain the cooking liquid into another pot and then reduce it by half.

Straining the sauce. All that flavour gets reduced and intensified. Mmmmm...

Straining the sauce. All that flavour gets reduced and intensified. Mmmmm…

Carve the chicken, oriental style. You can look it up on YouTube if you like. One video shows a chap carving one in 18 seconds. I took a little longer.

I won't go into the detail of this carving. I don't have the pictures to show you.

I won’t go into the detail of this carving. I don’t have the pictures to show you.

Arrange the carved chicken on a serving dish and pour some of the sauce over it.

The last of the pouring shots in this post. That sauce is as tasty as it looks rich.

The last of the pouring shots in this post. That sauce is as tasty as it looks rich.

Serve it with plain rice (to absorb the sauce) and some oriental style veg. I used Irish grown Bok Choi.

Note my rude, nude chopstick rest. All in the best possible taste!

Note my rude, nude chopstick rest. All in the best possible taste!

I can’t tell you what it would taste like cold. There was none left. I guarantee you’ll have none left either. It’s just too tasty.

 

 

 

 

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Latest comments
  • Quite nice.

  • Would it work using just boned thigh fillets (which I have) if I reduce the cooking time, do you think, or do I have to go out and buy a whole chicken?

    • I think (know) it would work. Red Cooked Chicken is very similar to what you are proposing. Give it a go!

  • Looks fab.
    If you want to do a cold chicken dish at some point, look up drunken chicken. It is delicious (and wonderful for summer). Now that I’ve said that, I think I want to make one next month.

    • I love drunken chicken. It’s years since I did one. Thanks for inspiring me.

  • Nice? It looks fab and I’ll bet it tasted even better.

  • It looks so juicy and yummy! Do you think I can do it even with chicken breast?

    • The breasts tend to be a bit on the dry side for my tastes. Perhaps with less time and using thighs, it would be excellent. But, if you are determined, give it a go with breast. I’m sure it would be delicious anyway. The sauce would make it lovely anyway.

  • Oh stop it now! I would give just about anything for this right now… Asian food is my absolute favorite and your tips will come in handy for sure!

    • Hmmm… We might cook some Franco Asian combination next month. We arrive down that way on the 6th.

      • Don’t forget to call me!! We need to go to the market and do lunch!!!

        • Don’t worry, I could not let the opportunity pass. We are really looking forward to it.

          • Me as well! See you soon Conor!

  • Very nice, Conor! The recipe, the simplicity, the braising technique (first time I’ve ever seen a chicken braised whole!), and of course the photography. Love all the pouring shots. The recipe reminds me of a Chinese take on teriyaki/yakitori, although there is usually not a lot of chicken stock involved. I do like that idea, so this is something to try. I’ll probably use chicken thighs and go the sous-vide way. Am very curious to see how much it will resemble teriyaki/yakitori.

    • That could be really delicious. The stock (which is pretty reduced to start with) makes for a very strong chicken flavour. I love it. I look forward to seeing how things turn out.

  • On my list of ultimate comfort foods. Soy sauce chicken has the added bonus of making a beautiful stock for many uses afterwards. Love the photography as always & the humour of course!

    • High praise indeed. Thanks Alice. I appreciate that.

  • Well, I make certain I make enough to have such cold, whether it be legs or thighs or whatever: agree with you totally re breasts 🙂 ! Methinks any of the SE Asian marinades would do well and I love both bok/pak choi and its compadres or steamed peapods to go alongside!! Personally do use brown rice: more body, taste and [dare I say it, ‘health’ 🙂 !]!!!!! And to Stefan: with apologies – teriyaki – of course, yakitori – too dry cold 🙂 !!!!

    • Thanks Eha. I think, I need to get into the brown rice myself.

  • I knew an easy oriental once… Or was that an easy girl of the orient? Doesn’t matter. Cracking work my friend!

    • I can’t comment. The Wife reads these….

      • Bahahaha. Right you are 🙂

        • Poor you!! Only one 🙂 !!!!!!!

        • Smiley face and apologies back 🙂 !!!!!!

          • You have nothing to apologize about my friend. I was just sorry it was only one that was easy… All of the rest were hard… And in all the wrong places!! 🙂

        • Best luck next time!!! {Or shall I now ostracized on the site 🙂 ?]

  • I am impressed with the cooking method of using a whole chicken in the wok. And the simple yet very flavorful sauce you made. Your pouring shots are off the charts!

    • Pouring shots are great fun. This is such a simple dish, yet, so flavourful.

  • Hi Conor, I’m a bit behind on my reader board. So for your pouring shots, what setting to you put your camera on? Whenever I switch to Shutter Priority I still can’t get them to come out clear, so I mainly stick with boring static shots using Aperture Priority. (p.s. Lovely chicken!)

    • I try to take them with a pretty high ISO (around 1,000 to 1,200). The rest is trial and error depending on the light conditions in the kitchen. Not that one gets a lot of trial and error with the pouring!

  • Definitely makes me want to get out that cleaver. I’ve always loved that dish at restaurants. And to make it at home with a properly-raised chicken would be just divine!

    • Thanks Michelle, it is worthy. The ‘carving’ is pretty logical and having the whole bird chopped up and in the centre of the table makes for a more sociability or fights, depending upon how hungry everybody is.

  • Love chicken cooked this way Conor it takes on so much flavour. Not sure what I like most though, the chicken or the nude chopstick rest…..

  • I do like that big, bugger-off, knife; I have one a bit like that but its got ridges in it and i can’t sharpen it

    • Cost me a tenner, about 25 years ago. Great investment.

  • Looks like a yummy and perfect summer meal. My youngest daughter just loves Asian food and I believe this might just be up her alley.

  • This looks amazing!

    • Thanks Barb, easy and tasty. That’s how I like it.
      Hope you are keeping well.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Hello Stefan,
    Just came across this recipe and it looks great. I would like to make the whole chicken sous vide, maybe at 70C for 2-3 hours, what do think?
    Regards,
    Leif

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