Soy Sauce Chicken or “See Yao Gai” is a quintessential Cantonese favorite, found hanging under heat lamps in many Chinatown restaurant windows. You’ll find it near the poached chickens, roast ducks, and roast pork. All have their merits, but a Soy Sauce Chicken done right is tough to beat.
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds (preferably free-range, never frozen)
2 teaspoons oil
7 slices ginger
2 scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces and smashed flat
3 whole star anise
1 ½ cups rose-flavored rice wine (mei kwei lu) or shaoxing wine
1 ½ cups soy sauce
1 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
2 teaspoons salt
10 cups water
Step 1: Clean and cut the chicken. Grab your stock pot. Put it over medium low heat, and add the oil and ginger. Let the ginger caramelize for about 30 seconds. Then add the scallions and cook another 30 seconds. Add the star anise and rice wine, and bring to a simmer to let some of the alcohol cook off. Add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a simmer again and cook on low heat for another 20 minutes.
Step 2: Increase the heat to bring the liquid to a slow boil. Add chicken to the pot. Once the chicken goes in, the cooking liquid will cool down. Let it cook for about 5 minutes at medium high heat. Turn the chicken pieces. Bring the liquid back up to a lazy simmer, which should take about 10 minutes. Keep it at this slow simmer (the liquid will be about 210 degrees F) for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the chicken sit in the pot for another 60 minutes. Transfer the soy sauce chicken to a cutting board.