Sunday, January 19, 2014

Soy Chicken

Soy Chicken 1

I love Asian food, of all varieties, and almost invariably if we decide to dine out we will opt for something Asian ... Thai, Indian, Japanese.  Vietnamese or Malaysian would feature on that list too if such cuisines were available where I live, but sadly that isn't the case.

When I'm at home too, and need to turn out dinner in a hurry, I will often look for a bit of Asian inspiration.  I adore the way Asian dishes seem to really wake-up jaded taste buds with their bright, vibrant flavours;  I love that most often Asian dishes deliver maximum flavour with minimal time and effort applied;  my dishpan hands (actually I don't have dishpan hands because I use a dishwasher, but you get my drift) love the fact that Asian dishes (apart from maybe a pot to boil some rice or noodles) are usually "one-pot wonders";   and my wallet is happy that Asian food is usually very budget-friendly to produce.

This week, at I Heart Cooking Clubs, our theme is "Passport to Asia" - a theme I've been eagerly looking forward to for ages.  Our current chef, Donna Hay, has literally dozens of fresh, simple Asian-inspired dishes in every one of her books - the hardest part of this challenge was narrowing it down to just one dish to cook.  In the end I thought I would share this Soy Chicken dish from Donna's book "Seasons".  It's one of my favourite dishes, and one I've made several times, so it seemed only fair to share it with you.

A whole chicken is firstly poached in a mixture of Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and orange, then transferred to a hot oven to crisp up the skin.  This is absolutely delicious served straight out of the oven, with some steamed rice, and a drizzle of the poaching liquid over the top - some steamed broccoli or bok choy would make a great side.  My other favourite way to serve this is to simply shred the chicken, and serve on a large platter with some carrot and cucumber juliennes, maybe some crisp iceberg lettuce and avocado, some rice vermicelli noodles, even boiled egg wedges and radishes are good too - alongside serve some rice paper wrappers and a bowl of water and let everyone dig in and make their own fresh spring rolls.

Soy Chicken 2

Soy Chicken Recipe
Adapted (very slightly) from recipe by Donna Hay
from Seasons
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

640ml Chinese cooking wine
8 cups water
3/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick cinnamon
4 star anise
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
5cm (2 inch) piece of ginger, sliced
4 strips pink grapefruit peel (or orange peel)
1.6kg whole organic, free-range chicken

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).

Meanwhile, put the Chinese cooking wine, water, soy sauce and sugar into a large pot.  Set the pan over high heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon, star anise, garlic, ginger, citrus peels, and chicken.  Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, place on a rack in a baking dish, and cook in the preheated oven until the skin is golden and crispy - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cut into pieces and served with steamed rice.

If you would like to get to know Donna Hay a little better, and to see all the fabulous Asian-inspired dishes my friends have come up with, then do go visit I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links.

IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely Michelle at Ms. enPlace, Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads, at Cook your Books hosted by Joyce at Kitchen Flavours, and at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollam.

See Ya in The Gumbo Badge     Weekend Cooking Badge     Cook Your Books Badge     Foodie Friday Badge

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  1. Gorgeous - I've never tried poaching then crisping the skin!

  2. Your chicken looks perfectly cooked with that crisp golden skin. I have that book and considered making this recipe but had reservations about using such a strongly-flavoured poaching liquid. Seeing your results, I think I'll give it a try.

  3. That skin looks incredible. Asian food is not something we eat often. After reading all of your points on the genre, I'm wondering why! (Or, rather, why not!)

  4. Holy cow that chicken looks delectable and the skin looks perfect! Thanks for sharing, definitely bookmarking this :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  5. Such great color on that chicken. I love the idea of poaching it first in the flavorful liquid and then still being able to have that crisp skin. Yum! ;-)

  6. Sue - I can see why this has become a favorite. That is one impressive looking bird! That skin looks so crispy and full of flavor. I love all your ideas for serving this. I especially loved your idea for serving this with rice paper for a make your own rice paper roll buffet. I'm definitely pinning this to make in the future. I know my family would love it!

  7. Hi Sue, I'm forever looking for new roast chicken recipes for our Sunday roasts. My current favourite is a maple syrup and sesame one. This new version is now top of the list to be made.

  8. The chicken looks perfectly cooked. Poaching it with all the flavours must have allowed them to really seep in. Liked your idea of DIY spring rolls.

  9. Hi Sue,
    The chicken looks so delicious! I love the idea of using the shredded meat for spring rolls! Yum!

  10. Hello my name is Francesca and I'm Italian. I discovered your blog by accident and I immediately liked, because there are so many interesting things. I have joined your followers. If you go too foul. Thank you. Francesca.

  11. Now this just looks wonderful!. It reminds me a little of the crispy fragrant chicken I did - when I thought I could exchange chicken for duck. I definitely love keeping the bird whole. Sadly, I haven't been able to cook with soy for over a year now. Jane has developed a strange toxicity to it and it creates odd Alzheimer's symptoms. I have found someone that created a mock soy sauce.... I may just have to try it out on this recipe. Hope you are doing well this year... I've been such a bad follower. I promise to do better in 2014!

  12. love the combination of spices in this


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