Red Cooked Chicken

This blog is for Vienna from HK who raised the question on how to cook chicken in dark soy sauce. I believe its called Red Cooked Chicken.

Red Cooking is a cooking technique where meat is simmered slowly in dark soy sauce, imparting the reddish tinge to the meat. This is a popular cooking technique in Eastern China like Jiangsu, Fujian and Zhejiang. Red Cooking is also known as Red Stewing or Red Braising.

Red Cooking is characterized with the use of its key ingredients like dark and light soy sauce, star anise or five-spice powder, cooking sherry and rock sugar.


The original recipe calls for 1 whole roasting chicken but I made it with chicken drumsticks only (about half of the recipe) because I have a small family. So, you may adjust the ingredients accordingly if you would like to make it in smaller portion like me.


  • 1 large roasting chicken, about 3 lbs.
  • 375ml or 1 1/2 cups dark soy sauce
  • 375ml or 1 1/2 cups water
  • 125ml or 1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine or sherry
  • 8 large slices fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise (about 12 sections)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1 inch size
  • 2 tablespoons crushed rock sugar
  • 2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil



  • Rinse the chicken with cold water inside and out, remove any excess fat from the cavity and discard, Choose a pot just large enough to hold the chicken so it will be almost submerged in the cooking liquid.
  • Put the chicken into the pot, breast downwards and add all the ingredients except the sesame seed oil. Bring slowly to the boil. Turn the heat to very low, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.


  • Turn the chicken over without piercing its skin.
  • Replace the lid and simmer for 15 minutes more, basting with liquid every 5 minutes.


  • Turn off the heat and leave chicken submerged in liquid in the covered pot for 45 minutes. I only left mine for 15 minutes because I’m using chicken drumsticks only.
  • Lift the chicken out, letting any liquid in the cavity drain back into the pot.
  • Brush the chicken all over with sesame oil. Carve or chop and assemble on serving plate.
  • Serve with some of the cooking liquid as a dipping sauce. This dipping sauce is great on steam rice.
  • Save the remaining liquid, refrigerate and re-use for red-cooking. The flavor will become more intense with each time it is cooked. Add a little of this master sauce to flavour other dishes. Nanzaro loves to use this master sauce to make his own mixed noodles.

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Chubbypanda

    There’s a very very very similar dish in Taiwanese cuisine. I’ll post my version of the recipe for you soon.

  2. Sally

    Sounds a bit like soy sauce chicken…most of the ingredients are the same except for the scallion and garlic. How are the Chinese New Year preperations?

  3. Chris

    I’ve got to quit coming here before I’ve eaten….I always leave hungry;)

  4. Maryly

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is like chicken cooked in dark and light soya sauce which is delicious eating with rice.

  5. chinchyesek

    I’m gonna to cook this dish for simplicity of process and overall
    flavour, pictorial representations great in assisting to capture the imagination, keep up the good work speaking as a culinary-illiterate [well, almost!].

  6. chinchyesek

    Ben, can’t get beyond page 10 using FF3Beta 5, often a bit slow or unresponsive, with GC however, it’s an almost complete freeze even though in either case tried reload/refresh/revisit but no joy, what can be the problem? And even though only one program running at a time, if relevant.

    1. Ben

      Hi Chinchyesek:
      I have deactivated a number of plugins. You are probably right … I think I have way too many widgets (I love widgets!). Hope this works better for you but if not, let me know.

  7. chinchyesek

    Ben, GC is no good with your blog, so use latest FF3Beta5 but for days on end pic of roast turkey ref IMG_ 2531 jpg has been embedded in my FF browser that can’t be removed, so had to open new window, I cannot now access ANY of your 10 or 15 pages on recipes, whichever page I tried to access wherever I click, up came the restaurant stuff invariably, it seems I am in a worse situation than before, HELP!

    [Manage to get this through with some difficulty and a rare exception.]

    1. Ben

      Hi Chinchyesek: I’ll send you an email over this issue and try to resolve this with you offline.
      Hi All: Has anyone of you experienced the same problem browsing around chowtimes? Please send me an email so that I could look into this for you.
      Thanks, Ben

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