Soy Sauce Chicken [Si Yau Kai / See Yao Gai]
Chef Tu David Phu
Soy Sauce Chicken (Si Yau Kai / See Yao Gai) is a classic, iconic quintessential American-Chinatown favorite. It is composed by gently poaching a whole chicken in an intoxicating soy sauce, filled with aromatics. As a result, the chicken becomes juicy and succulent; filled with an alluring, briny but sweet, umami taste. It is then cut up (Chinese-stye) to be served with, or over rice. #ftw
- 2-2.5 lbs. Organic Chicken (Heritage Chickens taste the best)
- 2 cups Light Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Mushroom Dark Soy Sauce
- 2 cups Brown Sugar
- 8 cups Filtered Water
- 2 tbsp. Shao Xing Wine
- 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 3 each Peels of Tangerine (or Orange)
- 3 each Bay Leaves
- 2 oz. Sliced Ginger
- 6 each Garlic Cloves
- 1 bunch Scallions
¼ tbsp. Spice Tribe Late Harvest Black Peppercorns
5 pods Spice Tribe Sun-Dried Star Anise
- 1 stick Spice Tribe True Ceylon Cinnamon
- ½ tbsp. Spice Tribe Aegean Fennel Seeds
- ¼ tbsp. Spice Tribe Highland Cloves
Make the Marinade
- In a large 10 qt. pot, mix the light all of the 2 cups of Light Soy Sauce, 1 cup of Mushroom Dark Soy Sauce, 2 cups of Brown Sugar, and 8 cups of Filtered Water.
- Then add 2 tbsp. Of Shao Xing Wine, 2 tbsp., of Kosher Salt, 3 each Tangerine Peels, 3 each Bay Leaves, 2 oz. of Sliced Ginger, 6 cloves of Garlic, 1 bunch of Scallions, and 2 tbsp. of Chinese Five Spice.
- Bring the pot to a simmer. Mix the pot until the sugar is dissolve.
- Take the pot off heat.
- Allow the pot to completely cool to room temperature. [60 minutes]
Clean the Chicken
- To prepare a whole chicken for cooking, place the chicken in a kitchen sink and remove the packing.
- Drain any fluids from the packaging.
- Since the chicken with cold water.
- Place the chicken in a mixing bowl.
- Use single-use paper towels to remove any excess liquid.
- Dispose of the paper towels.
- Sanitize your hands. And sanitize the kitchen sink.
Marinate the Chicken
- Once the marinade has cooled off completely, add the cleaned chicken into the large pot with the marinade.
- Allow the chicken to marinate for 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Poach the Chicken
- Once your chicken has marinaded for 6 hours, place the large pot of marinade chicken, on to the stove.
- Bring the pot a simmer, and keep it a soft simmer (190 F) for 25 minutes. Make sure to continually baste, and turn the chicken so that it poaches evenly.
- After 25-35 minutes, turn off the heat. (Or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 F)
- After you turn off the heat, keep the chicken in the braising liquid for 1 hour.
- Then, gently remove the chicken with poultry hooks.
- Place the chicken on a roast rack to rest, cool and dry for 30 minutes.
- To serve, cut the chicken into small pieces and serve with rice. Reserve the braising liquid to season the rice.
- In observance of the week of Tết, it is standard practice to prepare foods prior to Tết that will last the Lunar New Year week; it’s custom to not cook or work during this period. Naturally, the generations-old Vietnamese/Chinese preparations that kept well from being spoiled have evolved to be Tết’s staple dishes: thit kho bo (braised beef stew), bánh tét (savory sticky rice roll), crispy pork belly, and roasted ducks. Soy sauce chicken being the favorite in family.
- Even though Soy Sauce Chicken can be enjoyed anytime of year. It’s particularly special, “when served during [Lunar] New Year celebrations, [as it] signifies unity.” – @genevievefyam