Chowking’s got to be the my best place for Asian-inspired eats. My weekly grocery trips to Seafood City, more often than not, mean a Chowking stopover (the restaurant is inside the supermarket, how cool is that?) for a bowl of mami and a piece (or two) of siopao bola bola. Although noodle bowls and dimsum are the regular staples, their menu is occasionally revamped with new offerings. One thing about me, I am a creature of habit. I’ll go to a restaurant many times over and order the same thing many times over. The photo of their new crispy soy chicken plate, however, looked so good I was tempted away from my usual mami and siopao combo. A choice I didn’t regret as with skin golden and crisp and meat succulent and flavorful, it far exceeded my expectations. I wanted to replicate the delicious experience at home but no matter how I tried to hoodwink the cashier for the secret to this wonderful chicken dish, I couldn’t budge him to part with their kitchen tales. Hmmp!
The benefit of being a seasoned cook, I suppose, is that you can recreate dishes without an actual recipe and guided only by your taste buds. Last weekend, I determined to make my own crispy soy chicken a la Chowking. Infusing the chicken with my desired soy sauce flavors was easy enough but how to crisp the skin? I remembered my crispy pata and following its principles, I refrigerated the cooked chicken overnight to chill and dry before deep-frying in sizzling oil. Woot hoot! S-U-C-C-E-S-S! Just look at that beautiful skin and that moist, fork-tender meat. Lalaine<—- happy dance. Oh, btw, before I continue waltzing around the living room in exaggerated self-pride, Chowking serves their crispy soy chicken with a ginger-flavored dipping sauce but I enjoyed mine with atchara. No complaints here.
- 4 chicken leg quarters
- 4 cups chicken stock or water
- 1 cup light soy sauce
- ½ cup Chinese rice wine
- ½ cup dark soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and smashed
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- oil for deep-frying
- Wash chicken and pat dry.
- In a deep pot over medium heat, combine chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon, garlic, ginger and pepper. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
- Add chicken and boil for about 10 minutes, occasionally basting with liquid. Lower heat and simmer chicken for about 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through. Turn off heat, cover and let chicken stand in soy sauce mixture for about 1 hour to further absorb flavors. Drain chicken from liquid and pat dry.
- Arrange in a single layer on a platter and keep uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to completely dry.
- In a wide skillet over medium heat, heat about 3-inches deep of oil until very hot. Add chicken and deep-fry, turning once or twice for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until heated through and skin is crisp. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.