Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Simple Dinners - Neil Perry's Soy Sauce Chicken

This dish is Number 1 on my list of easy dinners to whip up. It's SO easy, so yummy and will last you several days and you can use the leftovers to make all sorts of yummy things. Here's the deal; you buy a whole chicken and whatever vegetables you want to serve with it and then you basically throw the chicken in a pot of sauce and forget about it. And somehow you end up with a delicious meal. Sounds too good to be true? Here it is.

Neil Perry's Soy Sauce Chicken
(from Simply Asian by Neil Perry)

1 free-range chicken (approx 1.4 kg)
1 cup light soy sauce
1 cup shao xing wine
1 cup sugar
5 whole star anise

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and then turn off the heat. After 5 minutes, plunge the chicken, breast side down, into the pot and leave for 1 minute. Remove the chicken and discard the water. Rinse the chicken in cold water and dry with kitchen paper. (I usually am too lazy and skip this step to save time. It doesn't seem to affect the dish toooo much)

In a pot that will fit the chicken snugly, combine the soy, shao xing, star anise, sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes , then add the chicken, breast side down and simmer for 30 minutes (if I skipped the first step then I do this with the lid on for the first 10 minutes).

Remove from the heat then turn the chicken over, put a lid on the pot and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time or the chicken will not finish cooking properly.

Remove the chicken from the broth. Use a spoon to scoop some oil or scum that might be floating over the top of the broth. (My mum has a nifty meshed scooper designed just for this job) Chop the chicken chinese style and reassemble on a serving platter. Serve with vegetables (I like serving with steamed brocolli) and the cooking broth with steamed rice, or simply with Szechaun salt and pepper.

No matter how many times I have learnt to chop a chicken, I always end up hacking into it and it looks like a shredded, mangled mess. So apologies for the messy presentation. But it was still wonderfully succulent and the sauce is so delectable. It has that great balance of sweet, salty and sour with the depth of flavour and fantastic aroma from the star anise.

The best bit is that you are usually left over with so much sauce that you can use it even when you've eaten up all the chicken. I use the sauce as a marinade for steaks and other meat dishes, and also use the sauce and any leftover meat and veges to make the most delicious fried rice. You get seriously good value out of this recipe!


  1. Nothing wrong with your presentation there! Looks delicious!

  2. ahhh looks soooo good! it somehow reminds me of a similar filipino recipe - adobo. same concept, slightly different ingredients (ie garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, meat, peppercorns).

  3. Fantastic dish, just like from a restaurant! I've never been sure of Neil Perry's authenticity, but this recipe looks pretty good.

  4. The photo with the chicken half submerged in the pot is so funny! It looks like the chicken is going swimming! haha! :)

    I've been umm-ing and ah-ing over whether to buy Neil Perry's Asian cookbooks but this dish does look good.

  5. Ooh soy sauce chicken is one ofmy favourite meals ever! Just looking at those pics and I can alreayd smell how good this would be!

  6. Steph, I'm passing on the Kreativ Blogger award to you. Visit my blog and check it out. Love your blog!

  7. Y - *beams with happiness* thank you!

    Trisha - funny you mention that, I was going to add at the end of the post that my brother does a filipino style adaptation of this dish by changing the ingredients in the stock a bit!

    Belle - Hahaha yeah it looks like he's relaxing in a hot tub! I don't know about authentic but I usually like the look of his style of cooking.

    Rilsta -He does quite clean, nice to look at food

    Simon - It is! :D

    Lorraine - Hehe thanks! It does make the house smell lovely!

    Ellie - :D You are too awesome Ellie, thank you so much!

  8. any chance this recipe can be done with just breasts/thighs/drumsticks/etc? i honestly have no idea how to cut up a chicken so i usually get pieces and i really want to try this recipe. any recommendations??

    1. Yes I'm sure that you should be able to do the recipe with cut up chicken parts, though I recommend getting them with the skin on, so that it can soak up the flavour of the lovely sauce. Thighs and drumsticks are probably best. You probably don't need to cook it for quite as long if it's not a whole chicken. Hope that helps!


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