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Soy Sauce Chicken

4 Servings

1½ hours 45 minutes active, plus marinating

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The classic Cantonese chicken dish called see yao gai was the starting point for this recipe. The traditional technique involves carefully cooking a whole chicken on the stovetop in a wok, but to simplify and streamline, we opted to use bone-in thighs and roast them on a baking sheet in the oven. Our version boasts the same lacquered mahogany finish of a wok-cooked bird, but with the added bonus of nicely crisped skin (the skin on traditional versions remains soft). We like to serve this with jasmine rice and steamed or stir-fried bok choy.




Don't allow the chicken to marinate for longer than two hours or it will be too salty.

1½ hours

45 minutes active, plus marinating


  • 2

    tablespoons peanut oil

  • 3

    ounces fresh ginger (5-inch piece), thinly sliced


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Laura B.
April 14, 2024
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Crowd pleaser!
I made a double-batch of this for our neighbor's son's birthday party this afternoon, and it was a big hit. The kids ate the chicken, as well as the adults. The feedback I received was that it tasted like it came from a hifalutin restaurant. It has a ton of flavor, the meat was juicy, and it was perfectly-cooked. Don't get scared about using regular soy sauce in this (I used Kikkoman), as the salinity won't make it taste overly-salty. It was tough to find skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, but I managed to find them at Trader Joe's. I predominantly-cook vegetarian cuisine, and this was straight forward and easy-to-follow for someone that seldom ventures into making meat dishes. Worth it!
Cecile C.
December 27, 2022
I've made this dish several times and not only is it delicious and deeply flavorful but beautiful to look at as you cook. Friends and family think of it as a celebratory dish when I am asked to make it.
Diann S.

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Dorothy L.

When you say 15 star anise pods, do you mean that we should break the star shape and use 15 of the individual points? Or 15 whole star anise?

Lynn C.

Hi Dorothy -

15 whole star anise pods.

The Milk Street Team

Theresa S.

This was amazing to say the least. Can you use low sodium soy sauce in this recipe?

Lynn C.

Hi Theresa -

Since we developed the recipe with regular soy sauce, we aren't sure how the seasoning will be with low-sodium. That being said, I often substitute with low-sodium soy sauce and it generally works fine. You can always add a little kosher salt to taste at the end.

The Milk Street Team