Peter Som's Soy Sauce Chicken
A few weeks ago, we stopped by Peter Som’s home to taste one of his cherished family recipes: Soy Sauce Chicken. This Cantonese dish, a staple in his mother’s kitchen, is a recipe he turns to time and again for comfort and family connection. We couldn’t think of anything better for this time of year.
Sweet, savory and umami-rich, Soy Sauce Chicken is traditionally made with a whole chicken but here, Peter's mom has smartly swapped in flavorful chicken thighs, making it ideal for weeknight cooking. Simple to make, the chicken is gently (but quickly) braised in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, star anise and garlic. Of course, it isn't complete without some steamed jasmine rice and some of the delicious braising liquid spooned on top with some cilantro.
6 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 Tsp Grapeseed or other neutral oil
4 Green onions, cut into thirds, plus more for garnish
8 Slices of ginger
2 Garlic cloves, sliced
4 Star anise
2 Bay leaf
1 Cinnamon stick
The peel of half an orange, sliced into 1/2" strips
1 C. Light soy sauce
1/2 C. Dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
1/3 C. Dark brown sugar
2 C. water, plus 1 Tbsp.
1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
Cilantro leaves for garnish
Steamed jasmine rice and chili crisp, for serving (optional)
In a medium saucepan with high sides over high heat add green onion, ginger, garlic, star anise, bay leaf and cinnamon and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant just browned on the edges. Add Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, dark soy, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add chicken thighs, skin side down, in a single layer. Add more water to cover most of the chicken if needed. Return to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn thighs over and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Remove chicken to a serving platter and set aside. In a small bowl mix 1 tbsp water with cornstarch until combined. Pour cooking liquid into a storage container (cooking liquid can be stored in freezer and re-used), reserving 1 cup and bring to a boil. Add in cornstarch slurry and whisk until sauce is thickened and glossy.
Pour over chicken, garnish with green onion and cilantro leaves and serve with jasmine rice and chili crisp.