Saturday, December 17, 2011

Soy Sauce Chicken

Sous Vide Details: Cook Chicken at 148ºF for 5 hours

Ingredients, Serves 4:
  • 1 whole chicken (remove organs)
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger, julienned
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 stalks of scallions, cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Xing wine
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Special tools: Chamber vacuum, heavy meat clever
This is a dish my mother made and everyone loved.  I decided to try to make it using the sous vide method!  A new twist on an old recipe.  Hopefully my mother will be proud.

Pre-heat the water bath to 148ºF.  Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl making sure the sugar dissolved into the mixture.  You will need a large plastic cooking bag that is large enough to hold the whole chicken and all the liquid.  Also since we are going to cook the chicken in the soy sauce liquid mixture, it works best if you have a chamber vacuum sealer.  If you only have a bar sealer, use a bag with about 12" of extra length after you put the chicken in.  Also, you might have to seal it twice to get a good seal since some of the liquid will probably get caught in the seal area.  Drape the bag over the counter edge when you're sealing (for a bar sealer).  Once the vacuum starts watch the liquid.  When all the air is out and the liquid starts to move up the bag, press the "seal" button.

Place the whole chicken in the bag neck first so the cavity hole is exposed.  Pour the soy sauce mixture into the bag, making sure you fill the cavity.  Carefully place the bag in the chamber vacuum and seal the bag.  Set the vacuum seal pressure to a low setting.  Some of the liquid may come out as the bag is sealed.  Just wipe the bag off around the seal area and re-seal a second time if necessary to get a complete seal.  The chicken should be immersed in the soy sauce mixture within the bag.  Place the bag in the water bath.  Cook for 5 hours.  This ensures the whole chicken gets cooked.

Once the chicken is done, remove from the water bath and let stand in the bag for 10 minutes.  Get out a large cutting board and a heavy meat clever.  This will be used to cut the chicken up into small pieces with the bone in, a traditional method of presenting soy sauce chicken.  Also this dish is normally served at room temperature or even cold.  Take the chicken out of the bag.  Reserve some of the liquid for sauce.  Separate the legs and wings from the body at the joints.  Using your clever, CAREFULLY chop the legs and wings into small pieces, chopping right through the bones.  BE CAREFUL!  Now separate the breasts from the backbone part of the chicken by slicing horizontally from the bottom of the chicken to the neck area.  You can then separate the breasts by cutting down through the breast bone.  Again, carefully use your clever to cut the breasts into small pieces.

For plating, place the dark meat on a large plate and then place the breast meat on top.  Take some of the reserved sauce and strain out the ginger, garlic and scallions.  Pour some over the chicken and pour the rest into a serving boat.  Garnish with scallions and server!


Suzette said...

Hi Artie: We tried the chicken last night and it was very nice; perfectly cooked throughout, and a surprisingly delicate flavor. Over dinner, we chatted about stealing your idea (with credit, of course), and using the technique with a completely different flavor profile.

And it's so simple, except for the part where we delicately balanced the full bag of liquid in the chamber sealer, and the cleaver. Whack! Actually, the latter was fun and I managed to still have all 10 fingers when the dish was finally plated...

SiliconValleySousVide said...

Hi Suzette,
Wow, what a nice note! I'm glad everything came out great (including the preservation of all 10 fingers!). This is one of my favorite dishes. Would love to hear how your different modifications/recipes work out! I love your website as well!


gb1 said...

Hi Artie,

When I saw your recipe, I was wondering if it would be possible, through sous vide magic, to recreate that Hong Kong soy sauce chicken experience that has obsessed me since the first time that I stepped foot beside the fragrant harbor some 30 years ago.

Frankly, Artie, this may even have surpassed it! We used 3.5 pound Bell & Evans chicken that came out supremely succulent and bursting with flavor. The quality of the bird definitely played a big role. Yet, your recipe hit the nail on the head.

It was not just me who gave it top reviews: my finicky 13 year old daughter went bonkers over it, and my wife, who hates fowl and typically refuses to eat it, said that we should repeat this recipe "often."

Have you used the recipe for duck? Are any modifications required?


SiliconValleySousVide said...

Hi Gary,
Thank you for your gracious post! I'm always happy when a recipe brings satisfaction to someone. I have done duck before many times, but not a whole duck. Mainly because a whole duck tends to be much larger and the temperature difference between dark and white meats may start to become a compromise (and you don't want to compromise duck!). Would love to hear your experience, but if you want a recommendation, do duck separating the white and dark meats and cooking them at their optimal temperatures. You can then do duck confit for the leg!


Jamie said...

Hi Artie,

I plan on making this dish on Friday as it looks great and the sound of it actually get my mouth watering. Could you please advise me on the ingredients of Soya sauce, above you advise to use: '•1 cup soy sauce' (Is this dark or light Soya sauce) and '•1/2 cup dark soy sauce' is this correct? or should it be as the recipe that’s posted on the sous vise supreme web page which asks for only '1/2 cup (120 ml) dark soy sauce'
If you could please advise my of the correct type/types of Soya sauce it would be very much appreciated, Also would it be ok to use a sake rice wine instead of Shao Xing wine? and last but not least is it best to the breast 'on the bone' when it is being chopped up and then served? Sorry for all the questions, but it looks so good that I diny want to mess up.

Many Thanks

Jamie (Edinburgh, Scotland)

SiliconValleySousVide said...

Hi Jaime,
Thanks for the note! So to address your questions:
1) The 1 cup soy sauce should be the light kind. The 1/2 cup dark soy sauce should be the dark kind. This gives it a deeper flavor. If you don't have dark, you can use more light.
2) You can substitute Sake rice wine for Shao Xing wine. That's fine. The vinegary wine gives it a little bit.
3) Definitely leave the chicken whole (on the bone) and chop up for presentation (just be careful!). That's what makes the presentation so wonderful. It's as good (if not better) served room temperature or cold as served hot! I hope it works out!



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