Everyone in Hawaii has their own family recipe for shoyu chicken. My recipe has a Chinese twist with the addition of star anise giving the sauce a gentle hint of licorice, if you are not a fan of licorice, which I am not, don’t be afraid to add this layer of flavor. One little star anise wakes up the sauce in a way that no other spice can.
If you leave the star anise out, you will be making it more of a Japanese style shoyu chicken which is also very good, it’s all up to you. This simple one pot meal will prove to be a crowd pleaser the minute it hits the table.
Shoyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce. In Hawaii all soy sauce is referred to as shoyu. Not all shoyu sauces are created equal. Aloha shoyu is the soy sauce of choice for the people of Hawaii, but it is very expensive to purchase outside of Hawaii, turning an economical meal into a treasure. So I have learned to adjust my recipes using Kikkoman which is readily available to me in Oregon.
I made this dish with bone in, skin on chicken thighs because that is how we make it in Hawaii. But you can use boneless, skinless chicken if you choose. Just be sure to use dark meat like thighs, legs or wings for this recipe or your chicken will be dry. But, if you are completely against using dark meat chicken, marinate your breast meat overnight in the marinade and cook the chicken for no more than 15 – 20 minutes.
HAWAIIAN STYLE SHOYU CHICKEN
4 – 5 pounds chicken thighs
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 whole star anise
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
Mix all sauce ingredients together in a large pot or skillet with a cover. Place the chicken pieces in the sauce and let marinate for an hour or two. Place pot over the stove and bring to a boil; lower heat and cover. Cook chicken for about 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Mix cornstarch with the 2 Tbsp. water. Remove chicken and skim off the fat. Bring sauce to a boil and stir in cornstarch mixture. Stir and cook until thickened. Add chicken back to the pot.
Garnish with green onions and serve with rice.