This Hong Kong Style Chicken is a meal that you need to try. It’s marinated in Chinese seasoning, then you can cook on a skillet or in the oven. Finish with this irresistible black pepper sauce that you’ll want to put it on everything.
When talking about steak, pork chop or even chicken, “steakhouse” probably is the first thing that comes mind. There’re actually steakhouses in Hong Kong too. You can find the classic American ones, like Lawry’s and Morton’s. Then you can also find some old-school Hong Kong style steakhouses. What makes them special is that the food is usually serve on a cast iron plate. When the food arrives at the table, the server would pour sauce over the plate. There’s lots of smoke and loud sizzle. Although grease splashes everywhere, everyone loves that dramatic scene.
You may think food must be very expensive at steakhouses like these, not at all. Instead of using high quality meat, these restaurants use regular meat, but give them extra flavors by marinating and using special sauces. Chefs use Chinese ingredients and techniques to create western style dishes. They’re all very unique and pricing is very affordable. Luckily, you can also find these kinds of steak and chicken in some Hong Kong style cafes (cha chaan teng 茶餐廳).
When it comes to Chinese food, marinating is key. In this recipe, the chicken was marinated with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, wine & a couple more things. Since the chicken thighs are a bit thick, you want a longer marinating time. Keep them in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Before putting the chicken in the marinade, there is a trick to help the chicken absorbs all that flavors. Give a few shallow slits into the thicker part of the meat side. Other than helping the marinade to get into the meat, the cuts also help to flatten the chicken, so it can be cooked more evenly.
There are 2 ways to cook the chicken. Traditionally, pan fry them in a wok with some oil. But I thought it would be easier to just cook them in oven. Although the skin of the chicken may not as crispy, I like that I don’t have to worry about oil splash or chicken skin stuck to the pan. Do what you’re comfortable with.
For the sauce, it’s all about aromatic. Garlic, shallot & onion are the base, then there is tomato paste, rice wine and of course black pepper. Cook them in chicken broth and water for a bit. Last, thicken slightly with a roux. Yes, a roux that use in western cooking. Instead of doing the roux with all the ingredients, make this roux first before cooking anything. It’s super easy. In a small saucepan, warm vegetable oil. Add a small bay leaf for aroma, then stir in flour until smooth. If you want a little extra flavor, add a little butter. That’s it. I like that the roux mix in the sauce very easily. No lumps and no whisking. Just a few stir will do it.
Once the roux is incorporated, the sauce is almost ready. It’s time for seasoning. There was no seasoning in the sauce until this moment. I used sugar, Worcestershire sauce and dark soy sauce. Make sure to taste and adjust. If you don’t have dark soy sauce, you can use regular soy sauce instead, but use a little less.
You can serve the chicken with steamed rice, French fries or roasted potatoes. It’s also nice to add a side of vegetables. Most importantly, pour a good amount of sauce over the chicken. I like to pour the rest of the sauce in a small bowl, so we can add more sauce as we like.
This is a truly comforting meal. The chicken is savory and it’s seasoned perfectly inside and out. The sauce is aromatic and peppery with a little kick. It compliments the chicken so well. We pour that sauce all over the rice and lick our plates cleaned. You can also serve it with steak and pork chop too! Give this recipe a try and I know you will love it!
Hong Kong Style Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce
- 1½ pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 shallot (finely diced)
- ¼ onion (finely diced)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2½ tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
- ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon roux (recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
Marinade for chicken:
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sake
- Dash of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3½ tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ bay leaf
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- Remove the bones in the chicken. Rinse under water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut a few slits on the thick part of the meat side, so the chicken can be lay flat more and can be cooked faster and more even (do not cut over the skin).
- In a large bowl, stir the marinade together (except for oil). Add the chicken and massage them with the marinade for a minute. Add the vegetable oil and mix again. Stack them on top of each other in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight).
- For the roux, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the oil, about 2 minutes. Break the bay leaf into half and add to the oil. When the oil is hot, add half the flour and stir to mix. When it starts to foam, add the rest of the flour and stir until smooth. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and continue to stir for one more minute. Add unsalted butter and give a quick stir. The roux should look a bit like pancake batter. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Cook the chicken in WOK: In a wok or large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoon oil. Add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until cook through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Cook the chicken in OVEN: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly brush with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Place the marinade chicken thighs on top and lightly brush the chicken skin with a little bit more vegetable oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until cook through.
- In the same skillet, remove most of the grease, except for 1 tablespoon. Add garlic and shallot and saute for 3 minutes. Add onion and cook for another 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon black pepper and give a quick mix. Add tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add rice wine and stir for 30 seconds. Then, pour in chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir the roux mixture and add 1 tablespoon to the sauce. Stir until thickened slightly. When it’s boiling again, add sugar, Worcestershire sauce and dark soy sauce. Taste & adjust the seasoning.
- Transfer the chicken thighs to serving plates and top with a big scoop of black pepper sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce into a small bowl. Serve the chicken along with hot steamed rice, French fries, or roasted potatoes.
- If you don’t have dark soy sauce, you can use regular soy sauce in this recipe. Since it’s just for a little bit, it won’t make a huge difference. But use a little less, because regular soy sauce is more salty than dark soy sauce.
- This black pepper sauce is also great with other meats, like steak and pork chop.