Soya Sauce Chicken (Si Yau Kai / 豉油鸡)

Thanks to The Burning Kitchen for this recipe!

They are Bee Leng & Melissa, the mother-daughter team behind The Burning Kitchen. Their mission is simple: “To make authentic Chinese cooking accessible to all, anytime, anywhere. We believe in teaching you the secret sauce behind each recipe”.

Please visit their website at for more fabulous recipes!

Whole chopped soy sauce chicken ready to serve, with chilli sauce, spring onions and noodles

Total Time: 55 minutes

If you love Hainanese chicken rice, then you MUST try this equally delicious and easy-to-prepare Cantonese braised soya sauce chicken. Only 20 minutes active time to make!


Top view of whole chopped soy sauce chicken ready to serve, with chilli sauce, spring onions and noodles

Unlike Hainanese chicken rice (the other famous chicken dish in Singapore), Soya Sauce Chicken (or Si Yau Kai in Cantonese) is a Hong Kong style chicken dish which is slow braised over low fire in an aromatic stew of spices and dark soy sauce. It is typically served with noodles or rice. Thanks to the slow braise, the chicken remains moist and ultra tender, while the skin is incredibly smooth and flavourful.


Here are all the ingredients needed for this dish

Flat lay of all the ingredients needed for Soy Sauce Chicken

Remove the chicken innards and exfoliate the chicken skin with coarse salt. Rinse well and pat dry, then rub in the marinade ingredients all over and inside the cavity. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Chicken being marinated with dark soy sauce

Wash the spring onions. Remove the skin from the ginger and slice it thinly. Then peel the shallots and garlic, then bruise slightly with the blunt surface of your knife.

Lightly smashed shallots and garlic cloves

Add the glaze ingredients together to form a syrup for later use.

Scooping out a tablespoon full of maltose

In a small, deep pot, heat up 1 TBsp of oil over medium heat. Then add in the garlic, shallots, ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leaves and fry until aromatic.

Shallots, garlics, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and bay leaves being fried until fragrant

Next, add in the 1 litre of water, 1.5 cups of dark soy sauce, spring onion and rock sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Spring onions being added to the braising sauce for soy sauce chicken

Once boiling, hold the chicken by its neck, dunk it into the boiling mixture, then lift it back out. Repeat this dunking process three times. Watch the video for a clearer demo!

Chicken being lifted out of the pot by holding the neck

Finally place the whole chicken into the pot ensuring 3/4 of chicken is immersed in the soya sauce mixture. Cover the pot and cook the chicken over low fire for about 20 minutes, turning it every 10 minutes.Read Also:  Chicken in Chinese Wine with Black Fungus and Golden Needle

Using a chopstick to turn the soya sauce chicken during the braising process

Turn the heat up to high for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process. Remove from heat and allow the chicken to steep in the sauce for 15 minutes. Next, transfer to a plate and brush with maltose syrup followed by Chinese rice wine.

Glazing the soya sauce chicken with maltose syrup

Allow the chicken to cool, then chop it up and serve with rice or noodles.

Soya sauce chicken being chopped into pieces


  1. Fork out premium dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is the star of this dish, so don’t be afraid to fork out for a premium brand. Today I swapped my usual Elephant brand Cooking Caramel for the more premium Feng He Garden Dark Soy Sauce (double the price but well worth the premium!)
  2. Use fresh chicken, not frozen, for this dish where possible – it will make a huge difference to the taste and texture of the dish.


  1. Use a tall pot that fits the width of the chicken as it requires less water to cover the chicken. This way, the braising liquid will be more concentrated, resulting in a more flavourful dish.
  2. Clean the chicken by rubbing it with coarse salt to remove the yellow membrane on the chicken skin. This helps to get rid of the odour and gives the skin a smoother texture.
  3. Fold the chicken wings backwards into a ‘arm-lock’ before cooking. This way you can remove the chicken from the pot with a pair of chopsticks, without breaking the skin. Watch how I do it in the video here.
  4. Dunking the chicken in hot water a few times helps to seal the juices nicely into the chicken due to rapid expansion and contraction of the skin.
  5. Leave the chicken head and neck intact as they provide a good grip for easy dunking.
  6. Test doneness by inserting a chopstick through the chicken thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Recycle the gravy. Do not discard the braising gravy. You can refrigerate it and recycle it a few times to braise chicken wings or chicken thighs for another meal.


  1. Substitute maltose with honey if you can’t or don’t want to purchase a whole tub.
  2. Use Chinese Rose Rice Wine instead of Chinese Rice Wine for a slightly sweeter aroma
  3. Taste the dark soy sauce first before adding it to the water. Some brands can be quite salty, so you will need to adjust the amount of sauce added accordingly.