In keeping with the comfort food theme I've been prattling on about recently, I thought I'd post another go-to dinner that never fails to please: soy sauce chicken.
Although I have served this to guests on numerous occasions, it's what my dad would have called "home food," not something you'd get in a restaurant, because it's so plain. I suppose it's because of this that when I do entertain with it, I serve it to my closest friends--those I like so much I don't consider them guests, but family.
My sister is the one who originally shared this recipe with me, and since then I've come across many variations, especially in Hawaiian cookbooks--some of which include vinegar (making it more of a chicken adobo), or star anise, which adds a great spiciness. But I always fall back on the old basic recipe she gave me years ago, because it's simple, quick, requires no attendance on the stove, and is one of the husband's favorites.
Any kind of soy sauce will do: light, dark, low-sodium, whatever. You can lessen the sugar if a whole cup freaks you out. You can use any mix of chicken parts, although I think dark meat works best. And if you've planned ahead, you can dress it up with chopped scallions or toasted sesame seeds.
One thing I think is non-negotiable is serving it with steamed rice. It just doesn't go with anything else.
Whenever I make soy sauce chicken, I make enough for two dinners. I even double the rice, in anticipation of enjoying fried rice a few days later, either for dinner or for breakfast. Old rice is the secret to good fried rice.
Soy sauce chicken has all the makings of a repertoire staple: it's cheap, has very few ingredients, is quick to make, and everyone loves it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Soy sauce chicken (serves 4)
8 chicken thighs or 4 whole legs
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
a few pieces of ginger, no need to peel
Place soy sauce, water, sugar, and ginger in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Stir to help sugar dissolve. Carefully slip the chicken into the sauce and turn to coat. Turn down heat to medium low and cover. Let simmer for 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.
Serve with rice and sauce on the side, removing ginger.