Sous Vide Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken
I realized a few weeks ago I had yet to blog one of my favorite dishes I make. One of my favorite Hawaiian recipes that is so simple and so flavorful. A recipe that is in regular rotation on the dinner menu ( and leftovers for lunch menu) that my whole family loves. Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken. There are many ways to make it and I discovered my absolute most favorite way to make it now. Sous vide style. I have made it in the oven, stove top, slow cooker and even grilled before but nothing beats the flavor and juicy deliciousness that the sous vide produced.
This is another easy recipe to make and the flavor comes out so amazing. It is similar to teriyaki chicken but not quite. I first had this shoyu chicken dish in Hawaii of course and a plate lunch place. Plate lunch is quite possibly my favorite meal. Definitely top 5.
Plate lunch and mixed plate was thought to have originated in the 1880s when plantation workers from all over would share their lunches. The different cultures of the plantation workers : Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean etc. all brought different items to the table so to speak. These cultures didn’t have sandwiches for lunch like a typical American lunch but different meats, seafood, rice, pastas etc.
The Hawaiians have shoyu chicken, kalua pork, macaroni salad, lomi lomi salmon, haupia. Japanese had chicken or pork katsu, teriyaki beef or chicken, saimin or other noodles. Korean influences into the plate lunch were thinks like Kalbi or beef short ribs, kim chee, the Filipinos had chicken adobo the Portuguese had a type of sausage, linguiça, to bring to the plate. Plate lunch was one of the original fusion cuisines heavy with Asian influence.
Later on more dishes got added into the mix and it was often thought the style of the plate layout was influenced by the Japanese bento, with a different compartment in the tray for each item of the meal. Once plantation work came to a close as the islands became modernized people still wanted plate lunch so small restaurants and small vendors that would deliver started up and eventually plate lunch franchises opened up.
Farm workers would get the lunch delivered to them and tourists visiting the islands could get a taste of what the locals ate. And if they were anything like me, they would fall in love with the style of meal.
Plate lunch nowadays is typically served with your choice of protein, two or three scoops of sticky rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. Mixed plate is several choices of proteins with the rice and mac salad or a variety of other sides, depends on what is made fresh that day. My favorite mixed plate is kalua pork and shoyu chicken and two scoops rice and ahi poke. Macaroni salad isn’t my favorite BUT it depends on the recipe. There are now two places that I will eat the mac salad from. One is here in Vegas at 800 Mixed Plate. (location has closed).
Their garlic chicken musubi is to die for and their mac salad is so tasty. And the other is Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina, Maui. Where I will be eating several meals of shoyu chicken plate lunch at over the next two weeks since we are headed there today on a much needed family vacation. One of my friends joked that I was heading to my “mother ship” and I couldn’t help but laugh. Hawaii is my home away from home and I actually feel more at home there than anywhere else. If you want to follow along with my eating and beach adventures you can do so by following my instagram, Pineapple_and_Coconut , or just wait for my next few blog posts when we get home. I am planning on sharing lots of pics and even make more Hawaiian influenced recipes like this shoyu chicken.
A little about this recipe – boneless chicken thighs work best. If you don’t have a sous vide, I highly suggest getting one. It is my new favorite way of cooking and there are so many amazing recipes for sous vide now. There are also many brands of Sous Vide machines/appliances now. I use Nomiku and used to be an ambassador for them but they are no longer in production. Definitely do your research to see which one would work best for you and your budget.
- 6 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and dried
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1-3” knob of ginger, peeled and cut into three pieces
For the Marinade and glaze
- 1 1/2 c Aloha Shoyu or other soy sauce. I don’t suggest using low sodium
- 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
- 2 c chicken broth
- 1/2 c mirin
- 1/2 c water
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
Additional ingredients for the glaze
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
- Fill a large pot with water. Attach the Nomiku sous vide to one side making sure the water is at the correct level and set temperature to 64 Deg. C. Preheat water according to sous vide instructions.
- Divide the chicken amongst three large resealable baggies. Place one piece of ginger in each baggie and divide the garlic between the bags. Keep bags open and set aside
- In a large bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients. Divide equally between the bags of chicken. Take the bags one at a time and slowly lower into the pot - the water will press the air to the top and one you reach the top of the bag seal up before any water gets in. Attach the bag to one side of the pot or drape the top of the baggie over so the chicken is fully submerged. Repeat with other bags. Cook for 3 hours making sure the water level stays where its supposed to be and temp is at 64 deg C the whole time.
- Once the chicken is cooked, strain half the liquid into a pot to reduce for the glaze. Keep the chicken with remaining liquid in bag and put back in the sous vide pot but with the sous vide turned off. The chicken will keep warm but won't keep cooking.
- To make the glaze bring the the marinade to boil until it starts to reduce. Mix the corn starch with water to make a slurry then add to the glaze. It will bubble up, keep stirring until the glaze has thickened. If you desire a thicker glaze add more corn starch slurry.
- Remove chicken from bag, discard bag and remaining liquid, and place the chicken on a platter or bowl and pour the glaze over. There will be a good amount of glaze so you can keep some in a small bowl to dip into. You can leave the chicken thighs whole or fork shred. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top and serve immediately. Goes great with sticky rice. And maybe a Mai Tai or Pina Colada. Enjoy!
This chicken is so tender it shreds super easy with a fork or you can leave the pieces whole. Either way it’s onolicious and a family favorite dish that I make often. Aloha!