Soy Chicken

You see them hanging in the window at Chinese BBQ restaurants and takeaway shops all around the place next to the BBQ pork and the duck – glistening chickens with enviable tans.


1 medium sized organic chicken.

1/2 a bunch of shallots

½ cup of dark soy

¼ cup of light soy

¼ cup kecap manis (sweet soy)

1 star anise

5-6 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 large piece of ginger, halved

2 cloves of garlic, squashed

You will need a pot big enough to fit a chicken with the lid on.


1.This will sound weird, but ‘exfoliate’ the chicken gently with salt and a little water to give the skin a better end result. Wash, pat dry and season chicken with salt, pepper and sesame oil.

2. Stuff a few stalks of shallot, a piece of ginger and garlic into
the chicken cavity.

3. In a pot, fill with enough water to cover the chicken (but don’t add the chook just yet). Add to this, the ¼ cup each of sweet and light soy, the ½ cup of dark soy, and the aromats (anise, clove, cinnamon), bring the lot to the boil.

4. Once the water starts to boil, gently lower the chicken in, and allow to boil on high for 10-15 minutes.

5. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off, pop the lid on, and allow the chicken to sit in the liquid for 30 minutes.

6. After letting the chicken sit in the liquid, remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool to room temperature. If you’re not eating it straight away cover it and leave it in the fridge.

7. To make a sauce for the chicken, take 2 cups of the poaching liquid and reduce it further by boiling it down. Season with a little sugar and white pepper (there’s enough salt already contained).

Soy chicken is best at room temperature after the chicken has had some time to relax.