Chicken breasts gently poached in the aromatic mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mirin and brown sugar. No marinating necessary for this shoyu chicken recipe without compromising on flavour!
If you like this recipe, try our Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry as well!
The recipe for chicken shoyu might not be on everyone’s radar and it’s a real shame because knowing how to quickly whip it up on a busy midweek night is a game changer!
What is shoyu chicken?
A culinary staple in Hawaii this chicken recipe was brought to the island by Japanese immigrants. And with this tidbit of information all of a sudden, we have a much better idea what Shoyu (soy sauce in Japanese) Chicken is all about.
What does it taste like?
Shoyu chicken is all about the balance of salty and sweet. The first comment I got from my teenager after tasting this dish was, “Mmm, I like salty foods!”
But to say “salty” is the main descriptor of this chicken recipe would be a huge understatement!
As with all Japanese dishes, the taste is multifaceted. Sweet, salty, spicy and tangy.
All of the above notes come from the mixture of soy sauce, mirin, garlic, ginger and brown sugar with just a hint of chilli flakes.
The method is simpler than most. It only requires us to mix the soy sauce, mirin, garlic, fresh grated ginger, chillies and brown sugar in a pot, then poach chicken breasts in it until done.
Interestingly enough, what poaching does is nothing short of a miracle. The flavours penetrate the chicken breasts and flavour them better than an overnight marinade would!
The final step is boiling the poaching liquid with a bit more brown sugar to create a sticky glaze that we coat the chicken with. What we end up with is delicious Shoyu sauce. It is so easy, quite healthy but feels indulgent.
The entire recipe takes only 40 minutes including prep, which is quite minimal.
What can I serve with Chicken Shoyu?
The obvious choice is steamed Japanese rice, which is what I cooked with a side of broccoli. That being said, any type of vegetables will do.
You can also turn this chicken recipe into a ramen. How cool is that?! Here is the recipe for Shoyu Ramen that will give you ideas how to proceed.
Can I make this recipe ahead and freeze it?
Yes and yes. This is an incredibly forgiving recipe. It reheats beautifully. You can double this recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day when you don’t feel like cooking.
All you’d have to do is to cook a pot of rice and steam some vegetables. So much better and healthier than ordering an Asian takeout!
You can also mix up the poaching liquid a day ahead and keep it in the fridge until needed to save time on a busy midweek night.
More homemade Asian recipes that are better than takeout!
- Asian Salmon with Carrot and Cucumber Slaw
- Honey Soy Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks
- Chinese Chicken Curry
- Filipino Noodles with Pork and Shrimp (Pancit)
- Asian Pulled Pork Buns
- Indian Butter Chicken
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 75ml/1/4cup soy sauce I used Kikkoman or Tamari for gluten free version
- 50g/1/3cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into large strips
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 green onions
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Combine the ginger, chilli flakes, garlic, soy sauce, mirin and brown sugar in a medium pot, then add chicken breasts cut into large strips. The liquid should partially cover the chicken, cover with a lid and poach the chicken over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of chicken pieces.(If you don't have enough of the poaching liquid, add a little of water. See photos for reference.) Turn the chicken strips over half way through the cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pot to a separate bowl and keep warm until needed. Add 2 tbsp of brown sugar to the poaching liquid and bring to a boil, continue simmering until you have a sticky glaze. Take it off the heat. Return the chicken back to the pot and coat it with the glaze. Serve over steamed white rice sprinkled with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.