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soy sauce

Beer and Wine Pairings/ Featured/ Vietnamese Recipes

Soy Sauce Chicken

Sometimes whole chickens are on sale and I buy a couple and they sit in the freezer because I don’t know what to do with them. I read all these blogs that say that buying and preparing a whole chicken is very economical and frugal, but I think I’m doing it wrong. I feel like I have all these wasted bits and parts when I prepare a whole chicken. Maybe I’m just not that good at carving it and getting the most meat out of it. I also never do anything with the carcass, even though I know I should be using it to make homemade chicken broth. That will be my next culinary milestone – making my own broths. I’ll have to ask my mom how she makes her broths. She makes the best broths, super clear and very aromatic. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Anyway, so I had this whole chicken sitting in my freezer and I wanted to do something with it already to free up some freezer space. I was just going to make a basic roasted chicken, seasoned with lemon and rosemary, but then my sister shared a picture of a soy sauce chicken that she had made.

My sister’s soy sauce chicken

It looked so good, so I thought I’d give it a try. Now this recipe calls for a lot more effort than I usually put into a normal family dinner, so I wouldn’t make it on a regular basis. However, it would be a pretty impressive chicken to make for dinner parties!

There are a few key points to note about the ingredients. First of all, there are some pretty Asian ingredients in this recipe, so your best bet is to hit up your local Asian grocery store. (Ngoy Hoa, if you’re from Regina). Spend the money on these ingredients now because I guarantee you’ll be using them again if you continue to follow me on this blog. The Asian ingredients are star anise (a star shaped southeast Asian spice). Remember? We used it in the Vietnamese beef stew recipe.  The recipe also calls for light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. If you go to a Canadian grocery store, you’re not going to find different types of soy sauce (actually, Superstore might have light and dark soy sauces). Using the two different kinds of soy sauces will add depth of flavour to this chicken. The abundance of soy sauce in this recipe makes the chicken super salty. So for the chicken broth that is required, make sure you use no-salt or low-salt chicken broth. Otherwise, it will be way too salty.  Lastly, you’ll need some Chinese cooking wine. You can also find this at your local Asian food store.

Also, the green onion oil may seem like an optional addition but it is NOT optional. It is essential to the dish so don’t skip this step!

The layers of flavour in this dish is unreal. The salty, silky chicken, the pungent green onion oil, the steaming hot rice – it is so filling and comforting. The strong flavours of this dish would be best paired with a lighter red wine like a Zinfandel. However, I didn’t have any Zinfandel on hand but I had a bottle of Menage a Trois, which is a Zinfandel/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. It was an amazing pairing! This wine would also pair well with other strongly flavoured Asian meats like Chinese barbecue pork.

Soy Sauce Chicken

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 1.5-2 hours


  • 1 small whole chicken, about 2-3 lbs
  • 2 stalks of green onion, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup no-salt or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups finely diced green onions
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black better
  • 1/2 cup canola oil





In a pot over medium heat, combine the green onions, ginger, star anise, both soy sauces, chicken stock, chinese cooking wine, brown sugar, oyster sauce, paprika and black pepper.


Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place the pot over ice to cool the sauce down to room temperature. Don't skip this step. If you pour hot sauce over raw chicken, you're going to end up cooking the chicken in random places and the uneven heat can cause the temperature of the chicken to rise to unsafe levels conducive to salmonella.


Place the chicken and the cooled soy sauce mixture into a large Ziplock freezer bag and coat the chicken all over with the sauce. Transfer to the fridge to marinate overnight.




Place diced green onions, grated ginger, salt and pepper in a large bowl.


Heat canola oil in a pot over high heat until it starts to smoke slightly.


Pour the oil over the green onion mixture. It will sizzle and smoke so make sure your exhaust fan or air exchange is on!


Stir the mixture and then set aside and let it rest for 2 hours before using (I usually make this right before I put the chicken in the oven).




Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.


Choose a pot that will fit the chicken neatly without too much extra space. I used my Le Creuset French Oven that I got for Christmas and it was the perfect size!


Remove the chicken from the Ziplock bag and then pour the marinade into the pot.


Bring the marinade to a simmer over medium heat, then place the chicken into the pot.


Turn the chicken a few times to coat it with the sauce, then put the pot into the oven uncovered.


Every 15 minutes or so, turn the chicken and baste it with the sauce evenly over every surface. (I did a poor job of this the first time I made it, so if you look at my chicken compared to my sister's in the pictures above, mine isn't as evenly darkened as hers).


The chicken should be perfectly done after 60-75 minutes.


Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest while you prepare the sauce.


Strain the sauce from the pot into a small sauce pan. Add 2 tbsp of no-salt chicken stock (or water) to thin out the saltiness. Whisk and keep it warm over low heat.


To serve, carve the chicken into small pieces and place over jasmine rice. Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken and rice, and add a spoonful of the green onion oil.