Soy-poached chicken

Adam Liaw
Soy-poached chicken.
Soy-poached chicken. Photo: William Meppem

Poaching a chicken may seem daunting, but after you've done it once and know which pot and temperature to use, it's much easier (and cleaner) than roasting.


1.6kg whole chicken

5 slices ginger (40g)

1 small brown onion, peeled and halved

¾ cup sugar

1 cup soy sauce

½ cup dark soy sauce

3 star anise

1 cup shao hsing wine or dry white wine

1 tsp salt, plus extra for the chicken

6 cups water

coriander sprigs, to serve


1. Place the chicken into a pot that will allow it to be completely submerged in liquid – a tall, thin stockpot with a capacity of around 5 litres is best. With a measuring jug, add water to the pot and make a note of how much liquid it will take to completely cover the chicken. Use that volume to adjust the recipe for the poaching liquid. This recipe is for a 2-litre volume of poaching liquid. Place the ginger, onion, sugar, soy sauces, star anise, wine, salt and water into the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. While the poaching liquid is simmering, rub the chicken all over with salt, removing any papery skin as it will prevent the colour of the sauce from penetrating the skin. Gently lower the chicken into the pot (a hook or loop of string under the chicken's wing will help with this) and reduce the heat to very, very low. The liquid should just be steaming, without any bubbles rising to the surface. Poach for 45 minutes then remove from the poaching liquid to rest for 10 minutes. Slice the chicken and serve with a little of the poaching liquid and a scattering of coriander sprigs.

Tip: Keep your poaching liquid to use again. After cooking with it, bring it to the boil, then freeze it. When you want to re-use it, just thaw it out and add a little more salt, sugar and soy sauce.

Also try: Adam Liaw's lettuce with oyster sauce

Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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