Shoyu chicken, a popular local Hawaii dish, is so simple, yet full of amazing flavor.
While the recipe has only a few ingredients, comprising mainly of sugar, shoyu (soy sauce) and a bit of ginger, everyone tends to make it in their own unique way. Some may add onion, others tons of garlic or maybe even some pineapple juice…
There are many interpretations of it really, so it is up to your taste buds to decide what you like most. Some like it more sweet, others less so.
I Prefer …
In my home, I make shoyu chicken wings instead of using chicken legs and thighs. I add a ton of garlic and ginger, but I also stir in chopped onions. At the very end, I add green onion and cilantro. Sometimes, I add in lemon grass too which isn’t very traditional, but it sure does taste good! It mellows out the flavor.
I prefer more sweet, but my husband likes a more salty flavor, so I adjust it accordingly.
I pour chicken broth over the wings in its final stages, just to get rid of some of the saltiness. I like having extra sauce also, so I can put it on my rice.
Just so you know, this dish is best served with some white rice! I would say it is a must and wouldn’t be the same without a hot steaming bowl of rice to compliment this dish. Also, add a salad for some health benefits.
How I Make Shoyu Chicken
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- 25-30 chicken wings
- 1C brown sugar
- 1C shoyu
- 1C low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2C onion, chopped
- 3 Tbsp grated ginger paste
- 3 stalks green onion, chopped
- 1/2C cilantro, chopped
- Dissolve sugar and soy sauce on medium-high heat
- Add garlic, ginger, and onions
- Add chicken wings
- Bring to a boil for at least 10-15 minutes (make sure it doesn't burn)
- Add chicken broth
- Turn heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, covered.
- Turn off heat.
- Stir in cilantro and green onions.
This dish can be very salty, so you may want to consider a low-sodium soy sauce.
You can also add another cup of chicken broth (or 1/2 C water) to thin out the saltiness.
If you want a sweeter taste, you can always adjust at the very end.
Instead of chicken wings, try 6 pieces of thighs/drumsticks.
Everyone's cooking time or method may slightly vary, so keep an eye on your chicken!
This recipe was adapted from Hawaii’s Best Quick and Easy Recipes by Jean Watanabe Hee, one of the first cookbooks that I learned to cook from 10 years ago.
If you are curious about other shoyu chicken variations, here are some recipes you may find useful from allrecipes.com, foodnetwork.com, and ilovehawaiianfood.com. Try them out to give yourself an idea of what you may prefer.
Each recipe above is “shoyu chicken,” but as you may have noticed, there are slight differences in all of them.
In Hawaii, we actually use the Japanese term “shoyu” instead of soy sauce.
Aloha Shoyu is a very popular brand used in Hawaii and some swear by it. Many Japanese seem to lean towards Kikkoman. Either one is a good brand in my opinion, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Have you heard of shoyu chicken before?