On The Menu :: Soya Sauce Chicken

Growing up, Mum cooked dinner for us every night. There was always soup on the table (we’re very Cantonese like that :P), steamed fish, meat and veges. My favourite dish was probably her signature See Yau Gai, or Soya Sauce Chicken. Every time she asked what I wanted for dinner, I’d say “See Yau Gai!” I didn’t always get what I wanted coz that would have meant her having to cook that chook EVERY. DAY.

Now that it’s my turn to put dinner on the table, I am, as you know, always on the hunt for recipes, especially the good ol’ Asian ones 😀 I finally got around to asking Mum for her recipe and here it is:


1.2-1.5KG whole chicken (I use free-range)

2 tbs Chinese cooking wine

4-5 tbs thick dark soya sauce (This actually exists 😛 I found it at the Asian grocers’)

4-5 tbs soya sauce

spring onion (just the white stalks), chopped into 1-inch pieces

4-5 heaping tbs white sugar




  1. Scrub the chicken clean with a lot of salt. Rinse salt off the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper all over the chicken and inside too.
  3. Stuff spring onion into the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Marinate chicken for 30 minutes or more in the dark soya sauce, soya sauce and Chinese cooking wine.
  5. When the chicken has been nicely marinated, heat a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. Gently caramelise the sugar in the pot, stirring constantly.
  6. Once the sugar has turned a lovely golden brown colour, gently place the chicken, breast-side down, into the pot.
  7. Using tongs, move the chicken around the pot so that it’s nicely coated in the caramelised sugar. It’s IMPORTANT to move the chicken around to prevent it from sticking to the pot!
  8. Do the same for the flip-side of the chicken. Be careful when flipping the chicken over as the caramelised sugar will spit!
  9. When both sides of the chicken have been browned, pour in enough water to cover half the chicken. (My mum said half a cup but I didn’t measure that out because I didn’t think it’d be enough.)
  10. Bring water to a boil on high heat, before lowering fire to simmer the chicken.
  11. Simmer the chicken for about 30-40 minutes. When it’s cooked, use the tongs to take the chicken out of the pot and allow it to rest until it’s cool enough to be chopped up, dished out… and eaten!

Now kids, I’m not being preachy when I say you should always listen to Mum because there are dire consequences should you choose not to… For example, your chook ends up looking like this —



All that beautiful skin – GONE! Torn off all because I decided to multi-task, instead of moving the chook around the pot… Just as Mummy had instructed 😦

A. should be on his way home from work right about now. His response when I emailed him the above 2 pictures was “Scrap the skin off the bottom of the pot.” Erm. OK.

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and if you’re looking to whip up a treat for Mum, impress her with this Soya Sauce Chicken 🙂 And let her know this recipe’s been passed down through the generations! Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy! Vous me manquez… Bisous xx


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