Soy Chicken with Ginger Steamed Bok Choy

Okay, time’s up.  You’ve had enough dessert lately.  Goodness knows I have.  So for a change of pace, I’m going to try and get some of the dishes I’ve made out of my photo files where they’ve been sitting.  It’s about time!

I’ve been really enjoying the recipes I’ve made from Donna Hay’s magazine and cookbooks.  They continue to amaze me with not only their simplicity, but excellent taste.  I haven’t found one yet that we haven’t liked.  Yes, my 15-year-old will leave a veggie or two here and there, but for the most part, he cleans his plate.  If that’s not a vote of favor, nothing is.

Recently Hay’s "Soy Chicken" recipe caught my eye.  It’s not typical for me to take a second look at a savory recipe that has brown sugar and cinnamon in it, but the combination of flavors in this was very appealing — beautiful to look at as well.  A quick scan of the ingredients list showed that I’d only have to make one or two substitutions — not bad considering it is an Asian-inspired dish and I don’t often cook anything beyond fried rice.  It seems we usually do take out when it comes to Asian cuisine. If I steamed some baby bok choy and cooked those rice noodles I’ve had in the cupboard for a while, dinner would be fairly quick.  I was set!

Soy Chicken

4 c. Chinese cooking wine (Shao Hsing)
3/4 c. dark soy sauce
8 c. water
1 c. brown sugar
3 sticks cinnamon
4 star anise
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 oz. ginger, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
4 pieces orange peel
2-3/4 lb. whole chicken

Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F.  Place the Chinese cooking wine, soy, water and sugar in a large saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Reduce the heat to low, add the cinnamon, star anise, garlic, ginger, green onions, orange peel, and chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.


Carefully remove the chicken from the soy mixture, place on a roasting rack in a baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy.  Chop the chicken into pieces, place on a platter and spoon over the soy mixture to serve.  Serves 4.

To prepare the rice noodles, I soaked them in water for 15 minutes, then cooking them in the broth for about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:  I halved this recipe for the three of us.  I used three rather hefty skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and reduced the cooking time to about 20 minutes.  I substituted 4 whole allspice berries for the star anise and used one large piece of cinnamon stick.  Since the chicken meat did not have skin, the finished baked chicken lacked the glossy, caramel coat the photo showed, but it certainly didn’t lack for flavor, and I didn’t miss all the fat that comes with chicken skin.

Ginger Asian Bok Choy

1/2 oz. ginger, sliced
2 "heads" baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 c. dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. roasted red pepper oil

Place a steaming basket in a large saucepan filled partially with water.  Place sliced ginger in the basket, and place the bok choy on top.  Cover with a lid and heat over med-high heat until steam cooks bok choy to tenderness, about 5-7 minutes.  While cooking, mix soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper oil.  Spoon sauce over bok choy and serve with chicken.


Notes:  I’ve presented the recipe above as I made it.  The original called for a vegetable called choy sum and the use of a steamer which I don’t own.  We liked the flavor of the sauce, and I plan to try it with other vegetables such as napa cabbage or snow peas.


This meal was very satisfying and light.  The aroma of the chicken in the broth was exceptional, and the texture of the meat quite tender. I’d like to try it again, but with a whole chicken as the recipe calls for.