The humble Cantonese dish, served in a Singapore Hawker Center, was awarded a much coveted Michelin star in 2017. It is actually quite simple to make it at your home kitchen. Superior soy sauce is obviously the key. However, the process of caramelizing sugar is equally important – it makes the chicken nicely glazed and adds into a sweet and smoky flavour to the tender, springy yet juicy meat.
- I whole chicken, 1.3 kg or 3 to 4 chicken leg quarters if you do not have a big deep pot to hold a whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 25g Rock sugar冰糖
- 30g (3-4 sprigs) spring onions香葱, crushed and tie into knots
- 20g ginger (crushed to loosen the fiber)生姜
- 3 star anise 八角
- 2 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch length) 桂皮
- 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine. Either Shaoxing wine or Chinese Rose wine is fine.
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce生抽
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce老抽
- 500ml, water
Ginger and Spring Onion dip sauce:
- 10g ginger, skim removed and minced
- 1 spring onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons, cooking oil
- ½ teaspoon, salt
- 1/2 teaspoon, sesame oil (optional)
- Use a Chinese cleaver to smash the spring onions and ginger to loosen the fibres. Tie the spring onions into knots (this makes it easier later when you remove it from the cooked chicken out of pot.)
- Now let’s caramelize the rock sugar. There are two most distinguishing flavours in the soy sauce chicken. And caramel is one of them. Caramelizing the sugar helps infuse a sweet and a hint of smoky flavour to the dish and brown (add color to) the chicken. Just start with adding rock sugar to cold oil. Cook slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar melts and turns golden. It’s important to get a hot oil temperature without burning the sugar.
- Place start anise, cinnamon stalk, ginger and spring onions and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark sauce and water. Mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Plunge the chicken into the pot. Leave it soak in the pot for about 30 minutes. Flip the chicken a couple times so the entire chicken is evenly soaked with liquid.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then cook the chicken over a medium heat for 30 minutes without covered (no lid). Flip the chicken a couple of times to ensure the bird is evenly cooked. Use a spoon to spray some liquid onto exposed surface of the chicken from time to time. Turn the heat off. Leave the chicken soak in the liquid for at least 30 minutes. Drain. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. It is ready to serve. Soy sauce chicken is usually served cold or at room temperature. Do not dump the sauce left in the pot. You can keep it in the fridge or freezer to reuse it for you next soy sauce chicken.
- In the meantime, prepare the ginger and spring onion dip sauce, place minced ginger, spring onion, salt, and into a small bowl. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok until it starts to smoke. Pour the oil into the small bowl and blend well. Set aside.
A simple, refreshing and healthy cold appetizer. The wood ear mushroom is called black fungus in English and mu er (木耳) in Chinese – a must-have item in the Chinese pantry because of its super long shelf life, unique texture of crunchiness after cooked and magically making every dish taste better. It is also long acclaimed as a superfood that will cleanse your body by removing toxins from the digestive tract。
The vinegar dressing, highlighted by two different types of rice-based Chinese vinegar, can be made in large quantity in advance and store in fridge for up to two months. And you can mix and match to use any vegetables of your choice.
- 4 sprigs spring onions, roughly chopped，香葱切丝
- 3 tablespoons Cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons Chinese white rice vinegar 白米醋
- 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
- 2 teaspoons Sesame oil 香油
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 生抽
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar白糖
- 150g Rehydrated Wood Ear Mushroom (You will need about 25 gram dried Wood Ear Mushroom in water) 黑木耳 (水发后)
- 1-2 Fresh green pepper, thinly sliced
- 2-3 Shallots, thinly sliced
- 2-3 Thai bird chili or any small red chili, thinly sliced
- 1-2 sprigs coriander (optional)
- 250ML drinking water
- Soak the dry wood ear mushrooms in warm water until hydrated. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, let’s prepare the Vinegar Dressing. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add spring onions and fry over low medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain by removing the caramelized spring onions. This will yield 2-3 tablespoons of spring onions oil. Place the spring onions oil in a mixing bowl. Add into rest of the vinegar dressing seasonings. Mix well. The vinegar dressing is done. Set aside.
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Blanch all the Wood Ear Mushroom by batches. Cool off the mushroom under the running water. The step #3 takes about 3-4 minutes. Drain.
- Place drained mushroom in a mixing bowl. Add the vinegar dressing. Add 250ml drinking water and toss into sliced green/red peppers, shallots and coriander. Mix well.
- Chill in the fridge for a half hour then enjoy.
I believe the recipe originates from the Hakka food,客家菜kè jiā cài or “guest families”. Unlike most cuisines in China, Hakka food is defined by a group of people rather than a geographical region. The Hakka had to make do with whatever unclaimed territory they could find, so frugality became a defining characteristic of their food. This lovely, lightly seasoned dish comes together so easily that some Chinese families adopt it as a staple. I will certainly scoop up spoonfuls of savory, earthy and yet subtly sweet sauce to put over mounds of jasmine rice,
- 400-500g (two bone or boneless chick thighs), cut into small pieces
- 3g ginger, thinly sliced姜片
- 2 sprigs spring onions, separate green and white parts, green part for garnish only，香葱
- 3 to 5 red dates (remove the seed and split the date in half)
- 3 to 5 dried shiitake mushroom 香菇, dehydrated, stalk removed (soak in the water for 30 minutes)
- ½ cup dried black wood wears 黑木耳, dehydrated (soak in the water for 30 minutes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce生抽
- 1 tablespoon corn starch淀粉
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper 白胡椒粉
- 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine 料酒
- Cut the chicken into small pieces. Separate green and white parts of spring onions.
- Place chicken, spring onions (white part only) and ginger in a mixing bowl. Add in all the seasonings and mix well. Allow it to marinate for half an hour. Then add dried dates and soaked mushrooms. Mix well.
- Place the marinated ingredients in a shallow, heat proof bowl. Prepare the steamer and bring the water up to a rapid boil. Cover the bowl with a plate or aluminium foil. Steam the chicken over high heat for 15-20 minutes, making sure it is thoroughly cooked. Remove from steamer and sprinkle on spring onions (green part) before serving.
There is a very long list of fermented soybean products in the Asian soy cuisines, such as Miso and Natto from Japan and Gochujang from Korea. Used as seasonings, they are found as culinary staples in the home kitchens of the East Asia countries. It is amazing how these little fermented black beans豆豉dòu chǐ have elevated the nutty and sweet flavour of this soy protein-rich dish, making the ordinary truly extraordinary. Fermented black beans are usually packed in small plastic bags and can be found in any Chinese grocery stores.
- 250g Tofu sheets, cut into small squares， 豆腐皮/千张切小块
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fermented blackbeans豆豉 (rinse them and chop them coarsely to release the flavour)
- 3-4 red chili pepper (replaced by red pepper if non-spicy taste preferred.)
- 3-4 green chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce 生抽
- 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce老抽
- Cut the tofu sheets, red and green chili pepper into small squares.
- Heat the cooking oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic then black beans till fragrant. Place tofu sheets followed by red and green peppers. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine and 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce. Mix well. If the tofu sheers are stuck together, use chopsticks to separate them so each small sheet is evenly coated with seasonings. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and plate.