Evenly glazed soy sauce chicken?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by marsleyparsley, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. marsleyparsley

    marsleyparsley

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Hello! Am a noob to the forum, so a big wave to all out there - happy to have stumbled upon!

    So, those perfectly glazed Soya Sauce poached chickens we see in the windows of Chinese restaurants...how is it done?? 

    This is the umpteenth time I've tried and tweaked the recipe/method. The flavour's spot on - but the chicken skin always turns out disappointingly blotchy - with uneven bits of white/brown, instead of the taut, glossy honey-brown it should be. Basically, I:

    1. Marinate chicken for a min. of 1/2 hr (have tried overnight previously - makes little difference)

    2. Let a mixture of soy & aromatics simmer

    3. Fully immerse chicken in mixture and bring to boil for 5 mins, thereafter turning off the heat and letting the bird steep for around 15-20 mins, as per a Cantonese chef's demo vid. I've tried up to an hour before hoping that this would allow the skin to absorb more colour, but no luck.

    I've also tried different brands of soy sauce, some with caramel, some without - and have used free range organic and corn-fed chicken from my local butcher in London, as well as the cheapest no-frills ones from the big 4 supermarkets...and still no love! 

    Having surveyed Asian foodblogs and Youtube vids, it seems achieving that effect with the chicken skin isn't supposed to be a huge feat...

    Am I missing a trick? Is there some sort of prep of the chicken involved, such as air-drying the chicken first, pricking the skin..or...?

    It's driving me nuts/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif  - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks! 
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,543
    Likes Received:
    508
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Soy sauce chicken is usually a mildly simplified form of red cooking. The dark soy with the caramel will give more color. I think the dark mushroom soy sauces are better still.  I'd leave a whole chicken in longer than the 15 or 20 minutes you're talking about, probably more like double that, 30-45 minutes on very lowest heat. Leave it in to cool a couple of hours.  Weight it so it stays evenly submerged can help that light circle that might form on the back. This will improve your color and flavor penetration.

    Don't throw out your simmering liquid. Strain it, defat it, freeze it and re-use it, occasionally adding more of the seasonings and aromatics when you use it. It will continue to pick up flavors and gelatin, improving flavor and color over time. Beef, pork, fowl, vegetables can be cooked this way, each adding to the flavor. Don't use it for fish though as the flavors don't meld as well for that.

    There are some additional steps you'll see from time to time as well, particularly if you want to rewarm it for serving. These do darken the skin some more and are more to my liking. You have a couple of choices to darken the color, crisp up the skin and render out some of the fat. These often get a frying to help out the skin and reheat. In a commercial setting, this is easy.  Broiling works well too and is easier for most home cooks, and I confess I like the extra oomph grilling offers though it's moving beyond traditional.

    I'll often redcook the 5 pound bags of chicken wings this way. Takes about a gallon of the master simmering sauce. Simmer 20 minutes, let cool in the sauce. Smoke for about 2 hours in my smoker, then crisp under the broiler. Not traditional but very good.
     
  3. marsleyparsley

    marsleyparsley

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    ahhhh... thanks phatch for a ton of awesome tips! 

    gonna dash out now to get more chicken for next round of trying.. :) 
     
  4. ordo

    ordo

    Messages:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    251
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Two crazy ideas:

    1. Use Hoisin sauce.

    2. Use maltose syrup, like in Pecking duck.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Even though the bird is fully submerged, turning it a few times during the cooking process will help even out its color.  If you're using a stock pot, or something else very tall, and have the bird vertical, tie a string under the wings with a long enough tail to dangle outside the cooking vessel, and dunk the chicken up and down like a tea bag every few minutes. 

    It's a good idea to tie a string around the fowl for any type of immersion cooking.  One of those little technique tricks which make cooking easier.

    BDL 
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  6. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    There is a classic chicken prep. called Mahogany Chicken  see if you can find on line I saw it there once. Done correctly its really impressive.