Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Soy Sauce Soaked Chicken 白油鸡 - Chicken Trio # 2

Dish prepared in July 2011

I'm calling this chicken dish this way to distinguish the usual soy sauce braised chicken that is oh-so common.

As some of you may know, I come from Perak and in Perak, a lot of Cantonese terms are different from other parts of Malaysia. We call light soy sauce as 白油(bak yau) and dark soy sauce as 黑油(hak yau). I know it sounds funny to you, but it's the way it's called here. I am proud to be a Perakian and I never change the way I call it , even when I was staying in Klang Valley for 10 years. The soy sauce terms are just 2 of the many that is different. I haven't even touch on 角龟(kok gwai, kuih),青瓜(cheang gua, cucumber),荷兰水(hor larn sui, carbonated drinks),荷兰属(hor lan shu, potatoes),Kopi 雪(shuit and not ping, iced coffee), 5 Gor Lui (5 sen), Yat Chien (10 sen), so on and so forth. Haven't heard of those, nevermind. The last 2 were monetary terms that I have no idea how to type in Chinese to make it sound like it is when spoken in Cantonese. But those of you who have heard of these, I'm sure it tickles you pink. Same goes to how it tickles us pink when we hear Klang Valley folks talk.

My aunt, 大姑姐, first introduced me this dish, 白油鸡 when I was 15. She taught me how to cook it, and the ratio to go by for the soaking sauce. And it was very easy and nice. When I cooked this again for my friends, they all nicknamed it 咸湿鸡 (hamsap chicken, which meant horny chicken) , because it was wet, and soaked in soy sauce. I even cooked a whole chicken with this sauce for a cooking competition during my Girls' Brigade years, and everybody awed at my chicken, but then, the only judge didn't like the smell of star anise. Too bad lor! My team mates loved it and that is more than enough!

Now, let's talk about the recipe. It uses a ratio of 1 part sugar to 2 parts soy sauce.  A lot? Yes. But it's like that. And you add in aromatics like star anise, shallot, spring onion and ginger. Make sure you use a not so salty light soy sauce. Get a good one. But I don't recommend Kikkoman for this. Use Chinese light soy sauce instead. I used Knife brand this time. Lee Kum Kee will work well too. But then my aunt will recommend Angel brand from Bidor Kwong Heng. If you want to soak a whole chicken, I suggest you double up the soaking sauce. It may not cover the whole chicken while it's in the pot. But after it is cooked, you may want to transfer the chicken to a bowl that fits the chicken snugly or a ziplock bag. Pour the sauce over and soak it for another 2 hours before serving.

Soy Sauce Soaked Chicken
Recipe source: Wendyywy's Big Aunt

1 cup water
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 stalk of spring onion, white and light green parts only.
2 shallots, peeled and lightly smashed
1 star anise
few slices of ginger, (I used 25gm of peeled ginger, use more to tone down the sugar)
6 medium sized chicken drumsticks, weighing about 800gm.

1. Put light water, soy sauce, sugar, spring onions, shallots, star anise and ginger into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Put in chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked. Make sure sauce is almost enough to cover chicken. You can add more water if you want, and reduce it later. Remember to turn chicken once a while so that every side of the chicken is bathing in the sauce. A whole chicken may take 40-60 minutes to slowly cook. High heat will make the chicken rough.
3. Turn of the heat and let the chicken soak in the sauce for 2 hours before serving. Reduce sauce if too watery and light. Reheat if it's needed.

*Best done in the afternoon to be served for dinner*


  1. Looks sedap! The sauce must be very fragrance.

  2. Your recipe looks awesome.
    I love chicken drumstick always!

  3. Wah...another must try recipe...think the ratio will be just right since I like it sweet, heehee!

  4. ha... yes, I have heard some of those Canto terms before. But now, most of us dun speak that way, except at times when I speak to some of my M'sia friends or neighbours. For instance, I will say "落雨" for raining, whereas my neighbour says "落水" I've cooked this similar soy sauce chicken, with a combination of oyster sauce, soy sauce and dark sauce. Very tender due to the low heat slow cook process. The extra sauce is very yummy with tossed noodles or even as a stock for simple stir-fry.

  5. Wah,so delicious lei, my favorite too.

  6. wah...the drumsticks are delectable...i can finish up a lot of rice with this dish, haha

  7. Lucky you, your aunt giving you this "hands me down" secret recipe!! And now we all can savour this delicious soy sauce chicken! Thank you!

  8. lovely dish! The drumsticks and the gravy look so tempting!

  9. oh...i miss my mama's cooking...

  10. Wendy, can I use slow cooker to cook this dish?

  11. haha! for so long i never heard people saying ' hor lan sui' , does that comes from 'hor lan'? i like this soya sauce chicken too, sometimes i will put the star anise, sometimes just forgot. If there's leftover gravy, i will dump in some meat also the next day and cook again.

  12. the photography makes me drool. i think this will go down well with hainanese chicken rice, am i correct? because a friend of mine has been asking for a recipe so i might give this a go. thanks for sharing.

  13. Thank you, Wendy for your many recipes. You have put in great effort to document the details and it helps alot for me. Thanks once agin for your generous sharing. Chik Ting

  14. Yum yum!

    This is very simikar to my good friend's mum light soy sauce braised chicken minus the star anise and her mum used rock sugar. I tasted and liked it a lot so i asked auntie to taught me how to cook.

  15. Hearty Bakes,

    I love drumstick too

    Yeah, it's kinda sweet


    Yeah,the gravy's very nice with rice

    My aunt's a great cook!

    Ah Tze,
    Try it, and you'll find the fragrance is also very tempting to your neighbours

  16. Joanne,
    U long time tak balik meh?

    why do you want to use a slow cooker to cook for only 15 minutes? Unless that's the only pot you have.

    oh yes, can recycle the gravy.
    I think the older generation like us will use horlansui, the newer ones will just go by heisui

    No. This is not the type of chicken that goes with chicken rice. It's steamed chicken.

    Chik Ting,
    U're welcomed :)

    It's the star anise that make it so nice.
    Try it with star anise.. maybe you'll like it

  17. Fong,
    Ur comment went into SPAM, gosh!
    Sorry for that.
    Lok Sui (raining) is quite a general term in Malaysia, but those I stated are typically Perakian in nature. Is your neighbour from Perak?
    Yeah, it's the slow simmering process that makes it so delicious!

  18. This is so yummy looking. I shall cook this for WB. He loves this...something like his mom used to cook. WEndy, thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  19. I had this before so I know this is very tasty:) pity the person who cooked this is no longer in contact with me :P

  20. Hi Wendy,

    All these Cantonese terms bring back so many memories. I used to laugh hearing these words when I stay at my nanny's hometown in Taiping during school holidays.

    Do they still have the 'snowballs' that are shaved ice compacted into a ball and then drizzled with syrup? We had to transfer the snowballs back and forth between our left and right hands as it was so cold. I remember it was only about 5 or 10 cents each only.

    I only had it in Taiping. Never saw it before in KL.

  21. Yummy..I think I will miss ur blog cos started new work and no time to blogging ard.

  22. My husband is from Perak and he calls it bak yao! Had to guess what he was refering to at first lol.

  23. wow..sounds scrumptiously tasty...irresistable cliks..
    happy following you..;)
    check out mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  24. Brings back good memories when I read all those terms!! The teh shuit in Ipoh is the BEST! Did you ever go to Teluk Batik for picnics, etc? We, cousins and aunts and uncles, always went there during school holidays, and had fun avoiding the jellyfish! And sometimes we would picnic by one of the many clean disused mining pools :) Ahh.. the good old days. Pity my children have no such memories, with many relations scattered all over the world. :(

  25. Alannia,
    No idea about Taiping, but still have in Kampar, one stall left only.

    Dun worry, blog only when u can

    luckily u didn't think it's mayo :)

    wah, those old mining pools ah? We dare not go, especially near water, only go there to fish, but those pools are hardly found nowadays, a lot are filled up to build houses. Teluk Batik ah, more than 10 yrs din go.. my hubby is no fan of hot beaches,

  26. I loveeee this chicken dish... can eat it all the time... yummy!!

  27. I am proud to be from Perak too. Ever since I came to KL, people often gives me the funny face when I said like, Yat Chien and Kok Kueh..

    And this is my favorite dish ever. Thanks for sharing. Has been looking for the simplest recipe and you got it :)

  28. Sue Me,
    Long live Perakian Cantonese :D

  29. Lol lol lol ... When I first went to KL some one said " cha kor". I was thinking what the hack is cha kor?? Kok kueh lah.

    Regarding dark sauce .... I was laughed at for calling it hak yau. I was told hak yau is the black oil used in cars. Lol .

    I bet you never heard of satu kupang... only yat chian.
    KL peeps call yat cham but we call yat kor lui.I open my mouth and they know I'm from Perak. Proud to be born there!

  30. vien,
    Yawoh, I was rolling on my bed laughing when my KLite room mate said cha kor back in Uni.
    Same goes to hak yau and satu kupang is another northern thing. My Malay friends from Pahang laughed at a Penang Malay for saying satu kupang, then called her Kupang as nick name. Those who laughed at her forgot that in the olden days, the locals used shells as money.
    I always like use all my Perakian currency talk when I go to Petaling Street and will not change it for anything.

  31. 不好意思,英文不好,所以用中文。

  32. 莹莹 ,
    Sorry, my mandarin very lao-yah.
    I reply in English, ok.
    I did mention in the 3rd paragraph I used Knife brand.
    Lee Kum Kee is fine too.
    I think Po-po has a few grades, get the better one.
    Don't use high heat, and make sure you cover the pot to avoid the water getting too little.
    Add more water then, if you find the gravy too little and too salty.

  33. 呵呵,只要你能看明白我的中文就好,我其实看懂英文,就是……不敢 用英文沟通。不好意思哦,没看清楚你写的,对不起哦!下次会仔细 看。原来你用knife的……其实我也觉得用knife煮一些以soy sauce为主的 菜肴,味道会很好,不会太咸也带着刚好的甜味。我之前也用过宝宝和 knife煮三杯鸡,结果当然是knife比较好味。

  34. 莹莹 ,
    Yup, the quality of the sauce used determines the final taste. Just like oyster sauce, some brands are totally not nice de.
    Frankly, I find Popo's taste, not so nice.

  35. Halo Wendy,
    I tried this recipe last evening, it is so so good. You are right, the heat must not be high, I got it down to as low as possible, wow, the meat is so tender. I love it, thanks for sharing this si fong choy.
    This is Oi Ling.

  36. Hi wendy, is there a difference in using rock sugar vs regular sugar?

  37. Maine'sdiscovery,
    There's a bit of difference. The type of lingering sweetness in the mouth is a bit different, but if you don't want, just use regular sugar, but reduce it by 10-20%.


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