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Monday, September 21, 2009

Memories of Mom's Cooking: Soy Sauce Chicken Legs

Being so far away from home makes you crave certain comfort foods. For me, it's usually my mom's homecooking that I am thinking about. Those distinctive aromas coming from the kitchen and that great familiarity as the dishes were placed in front of me. My mom's Spaghetti Bolognese, Black Bean Spare Ribs, Fried Rice, Steamed Salmon... the dishes and memories are endless. But today, one particular dish came to mind as I walked through the spice souk and came across some star anise. My Mom's Soy Sauce Chicken Legs.

Salty, sweet, and spicy all perfectly balanced in this simple to make dish. Now, I am not saying that my version lives up to my mom's, but it certainly is a good try at recreating a dish which I so fondly remember eating frequently as a child.

Soy Sauce Chicken Legs
Serves 2

1 tsp Cooking Oil
2 Whole Chicken Legs (back, thigh, and drum)
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Light Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Dark Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Water
1 tsp Brown Sugar
4 Whole Star Anise
1 tsp Fresh Ginger Root, chopped finely
Steamed white or brown rice for serving

Heat oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the chicken legs and brown lightly on each side-- about 2 minutes per side.

Add the garlic and onions and stir with chicken for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, star anise and ginger. Stir until combined. Cover and simmer on low-med heat for about 20 minutes. Turn the chicken legs over. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Check that the chicken legs are fully cooked. When pierced by the bone in the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear.

Serve chicken with steamed rice and drizzle with the sauce.

If you want to make the sauce lighter: make ahead and remove the chicken legs. Let the sauce cool, then place in the fridge until cold and the fat solidifies on top of the sauce. Remove the layer of fat. Reheat the sauce, and place the chicken legs back in the sauce until warm. Serve and enjoy.


  1. Wow. Great dish. Awesome flavors.

  2. lots of great flavors and mouth watering delicious!

  3. This dish sounds so appealing to me - all of my favorite flavors in one place.

  4. great flavors--love the anise. We just made some ga roti, vietnamese roasted chicken sorta similar since we used five spice.