Have you been to a Chinese restaurant with a variety of meats dangling in the window? (If not, read this later and run to Chinatown now!) It’s usually roast pork, crackling pork, roast duck, ginger (white) chicken, and soy sauce chicken. Sometimes, there’s pork intestines or other innards. You can buy any by the pound or have the classic workmen’s lunch: San Bao Fan. The rough translation would be Three Specialties (Treasures) Rice, a choice of 3 of the meats over rice. There’s usually a vegetable included and sometimes a stewed egg.

Soy Sauce Chicken with Baby Chinese Broccoli 3

Roast pork seems to be the pick for everyone, but my favorite of the bunch is soy sauce chicken. I usually think of chicken as boring, but soy sauce chicken is totally different. The sweet and salty skin is like chicken candy. The meat has a an extra bounce. The secret comes in two parts: freshly killed chicken and an interesting cooking method.

The hardest part is probably getting a freshly killed chicken. The only live poultry market I know of is one in Flushing called Greenpoint Farm 3651 College Point Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11354. You can pick out your bird; chickens are about $2.49 per pound. Then you’ll have to run home and make the chicken right away (before rigor mortis sets in, as pointed out by Enya). The weirdest part for me was getting home and touching the chicken. It was still warm, which makes sense, but it’s just so different from pulling a cold chicken out of the fridge.

raw fresh killed chicken 2

The cooking method amazes me, as do many classic Chinese techniques. It feels like you only cook this whole chicken for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes of boiling, you just shut off the heat and leave it there for 5 hours. How could it be cooked all the way through? But it is! And, it’s the most amazing chicken texture you’ll ever bite in to.

This does take some time management because you’ll want to eat that chicken right when it’s done, when it’s just barely warm. Of course you can store left-overs in the fridge for future eating, but it won’t be quite as good as that optimal point. Think of it as chicken that has never ever been refrigerated. Enjoy!

whole soy sauce chicken 3

Soy Sauce Chicken
~8 small servings

  • 4 cups soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces rock candy/sugar
  • 2 (3″x 2″ x 1″) pieces peeled ginger, smashed
  • 4 1/2 pound live chicken

Instructions -

*You want to use a pot that allows the chicken to lay in comfortably, but without too much space around it. See picture in step 3.

1.  Fill pot with soy sauce, water, rock candy, and ginger. Bring to a boil and continue simmering until rock candy dissolves.

2. While rock candy is melting, wash the chicken in cold water and cut off the head, neck, feet, and tail (discard). Remove the skin from the neck.

raw fresh killed chicken

3. Put chicken in the pot back side down. Add feet, neck, and head. Cover and boil for 3 minutes.

cooking whole soy sauce chicken 2

4. Turn the chicken over so that breast side is down. Cover and boil for 4 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered. Do not touch it for 5 hours. Do not open the lid!

6. Remove to a plate and let it drain for 15 minutes. (You can make other dishes at this time.)

whole soy sauce chicken 2

7. Cut chicken with a cleaver and serve with rice. (If you’re not comfortable chopping through bone, you can serve it any way you like.)

cutting soy sauce chicken

*Notes: Save the sauce. It can be drizzled on rice, and you can make another chicken using the same pot of sauce.

posted by jessica at 09:24 AM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.