Today, we are making soy sauce chicken. It will be hard to tell that you actually didn’t roast it. It looks and tastes like a roast chicken, so if you don’t have an oven, learn this rice cooker hack and impress your friends/family. It is a classic Cantonese dish. It is famous for its savory flavor and silky tender meat.
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RICE COOKER HACKS - Cantonese Soy Sauce Chicken
- First, let’s talk about the chicken. You want to use younger and smaller chicken for this recipe. The older the chicken is, the stronger the meat fiber will be. If you want to achieve the tender, silky result, smaller chicken is the way to go. It is better to get one that is about 1 kg. If you don’t want to deal with a whole chicken, you can use chicken leg or chicken wing to make this recipe.
- Trim off the fat that is attached on the chicken. You can discard the fat if you don’t like it. Or you can save it to brown the chicken tomorrow. Just cut it into smaller bits and set it in the fridge.
- To the chicken, use a rope to tie the legs together. Make sure you leave a fair amount of rope at the end. It will be helpful when you cook the chicken. Flip the chicken over. Bend the wing and tuck it behind the back. Set it aside.
- You will need about 1 inch of ginger. Cut it into smaller pieces. Smash them one by one. 8 cloves of garlic, slightly crush them as well. 1/2 of medium size onion, cut it into smaller pieces. Slight smash 2 pieces of spring onion to release the flavor and stuff them into the chicken.
- Let’s make the marinade. In a bowl, add in 1/2 cup of light soy sauce, 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 1/2 cup of rice wine, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 star anise, 1 small piece of cinnamon, 2 pieces of bay leaves and 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn. Dump in the aromatics that we prepared before. Stir the dissolve the sugar.
- Put the chicken into a sealable bag. Pour in the marinade. Push out all the air and seal the bag. Let this sit in the fridge breast side down overnight
- Next day, pour everything out of the bag. Remove the aromatics that are on the surface of the chicken. Take the chicken out and save the liquid. We will use that later.
- Saute the chicken fat first until you get about 1.5 tbsp of chicken fat. If you don’t have chicken fat, it is completely ok to use regular cooking oil. We are going to brown the chicken. This is optional. I have tried skipping the browning step. It still tastes delicious. I consider myself as a perfectionist and I do think the browning brings little more flavor to the dish. Once you think you got enough surfaces browned, pour in the sauce along with all the spices and 1-2 cups of water. Different rice cooker, the power is different, you will need to adjust the water amount. If you are not sure, use a small amount first and add more water if needed.
- Cover it, let it cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. My chicken weights 1 kg, if your chicken is bigger you will need to cook it longer. During this time, you want to come back once every 15 minutes to give it a flip. That ensures an even color on the chicken surface. Like I mentioned before, if you think the sauce is evaporating too much ad it becomes too thick, you can add more water.
- After 1 hour of cooking, the sauce will be really thick and creamy. The chicken will have a dark brown color. Cantonese restaurants will hang this soy sauce chicken by the window. You may have seen this if you been to China town. If it is freshly made. You can see the sauce, juice dripping down. It is so delicious looking. You can serve it whole if you prefer this way because it looks prettier. Or you can chop it up like what local people would do. I will show you how to do that in a second even though it is a bit annoying to eat with bones.
- Use scissors to cut out the backbone. Flip the chicken. Follow the middle of the chest to cut the chicken in half. Take off the leg and the wings. Well, the traditional Cantonese chef will use a Chinese chopping knife instead of scissors, but I think scissors are good for beginners. You got the chicken breast and the chicken back. Just cut it in half. Then keep chopping each part into small pieces. This is a traditional and authentic way to cut up a whole chicken. In a Cantonese restaurant, the chicken will be presented in a plate like this.
- We usually serve this with white rice and some baby bok choy to balance the flavor. I don’t have bok choy today so I blanched some lettuce. There will be 1/3 cups of sauce left in the rice cooker. Drain the spices. It is very salty, so I will dilute it with some water and taste it to make sure it’s good. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Enjoy!