Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

Soy sauce chicken is a wonderfully simple dish.  The chicken is slowly poached in a flavorful liquid that leaves the meat tender but toothsome, the slink a glistening brown, and the whole piece infused with the unique richness of the soy, aromatics, and Shaoxing wine.


The cooking process is simple – a long slow poach, including a rest – yields tender chicken that’s not falling off the bone, but still has a slight bite back. One of the great parts is that you can keep the liquid for future use – I return it to a boil to sterilize it, then transfer to a freezer proof container to use again – simply adding a few fresh aromatics and topping up the liquid.  The flavor gets better with each use.


Shaoxing cooking wine is available online and at Asian groceries.  In the past, I’ve substituted sherry or marsala – but the flavor really isn’t the same.   I also suggest using better soy sauce if possible, as while the amount used is large, it is also the primary flavor.  Some very inexpensive soy sauces are not traditionally brewed, but … concocted out of artificially produced flavors and caramel coloring.

Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

Recipe by DrewCourse: MainCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Chicken poached in a flavorful soy sauce mixture.


  • 4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs

  • 1 cup soy sauce

  • 2 cups Asian style chicken stock

  • ¼ cup Shaoxing cooking wine

  • 2 star anise pods

  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger

  • 2 green onions

  • 2 cloves garlic


  • Peel, and slice the ginger into 1/8th inch thick disks.
  • Trim the green onions, removing the root end, and cut into 3-inch pieces, reserving the greens of one onion for garnish.
  • Peel, trim, and slice the garlic.
  • Add stock, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, anise pods, ginger, garlic, and green onion to a pot just large enough to hold the thighs.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat.
  • Add the chicken to the pot, making sure the pieces are completely submerged.
  • Return to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully stir occasionally, making sure that the poaching liquid is touching all parts of the chicken – pieces that are touching the sides or other chicken pieces may come out of the cook with pale spots.
  • Turn off the heat and let rest covered for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot.
  • Serve with freshly steamed white rice.

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