Shoyu Chicken with Gochujang (Chicken Simmered in Soy Sauce and Gochujang)

shoyu_goch_chickIf you ask me what I have been eating most often for the last three years, Shoyu Chicken would certainly be among the top ten. The frequency with which I prepare it is not only due to its irresistible taste and texture, but also – and maybe most of all – to its extremely low difficulty. Actually, I cannot recall any other equally effortless warm dish. Even though, after dozens of times, the original recipe is still my favourite in my house, I have obviously twisted it more than once. This gochujang (Korean chilli paste) version has also become a staple and is always welcome whenever the chilli addict in me requires an urgent dose of spicy food.

This recipe is based on the original Shoyu Chicken, a Hawaiian recipe found on a wonderful, inspiring blog Humble Bean, which is unfortunately no longer continued. “Shoyu” means “soy sauce “in Japanese and even though this dish comes from Hawaii it does have a Japanese influence of course. Since the first time I prepared it I have cut down on the soy sauce amounts (and always use the low-sodium version), but otherwise I still prepare it the same way and never get tired of it.

If you cannot find gochujang or don’t feel like having a spicy meal, try this mild version:

Shoyu Chicken
Shoyu Chicken

TIPS: If you like soft chicken skin, leave the skin on, but for me the result was much too fatty, so I did it only once and have always skinned the legs since then (it’s really very easy and takes maximum five minutes for two legs).

Try to use chicken pieces with bones, which add lots of flavour.

I strongly advise using low-sodium soy sauce. You will have less salt in the final dish, but more of the wonderful soy sauce taste.

Do not skip the vinegar. The dish will not be sour, but the vinegar adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi you will like. (You can use any vinegar you have, unless it’s something like raspberry vinegar, etc. of course).

It’s obviously delicious served with kimchi.

Preparation: about 1 hour – 1h30

Ingredients (serves 2 – 4 people depending on the size of the legs):

2 chicken legs (cut into two pieces) with or without skin

100 ml (about 3 fl oz) low-sodium Japanese soy sauce (or 70 ml of “normal” soy sauce)

300 ml (about 10 fl oz) water

60 ml (about 2 fl oz) agave syrup or honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)

2 heaped tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

2 big garlic cloves chopped or sliced

toasted sesame seeds

(1-2 tablespoons sesame oil)

Bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil (apart from the sesame seeds and oil).

Lower the heat, put the chicken into the sauce, cover (add more water if needed) and let it simmer for at least one hour until the meat falls apart from the bones.

Finish cooking it uncovered until the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and with sesame oil.

Serve with rice (and kimchi, if you have it).





26 Replies to “Shoyu Chicken with Gochujang (Chicken Simmered in Soy Sauce and Gochujang)”

  1. I first wondered what “shoyu chicken” could be. As I read on, I realized that the dish could be another comfort food for most Japanese.

    >Do not skip the vinegar.
    Yes, I do agree. Besides, vinegar will keep the chicken tender.

    I wonder if you have this dish with a baguette or something.

    1. Thank you, Hiroyuki. For me it’s definitely comfort food (and easy too…). I haven’t thought about the vinegar keeping the chicken tender. Thank you!
      I usually have it with rice and some pickles (kimchi most often 🙂 but it’s also good with good bread… mopping up the sauce…

  2. I’m convinced that gochujang is one thick, delicious balm that can revitalize any dish {ok, so I may be a bit biased} but your chicken sounds amazing too!…loved your “heaped” spoonfuls!!

  3. A lovely recipe and I have most of a tub of gochujang to try it with. I’m just too stuffed with turkey right now, to properly appreciate the dish but I know I’ll be salivating lately cause it DOES sound easy.

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. The only way it can go wrong is when you forget it on the stove and burn it 😉 Otherwise, it’s extremely easy.

  4. I know this will be delicious. It has some similarities to the Tau Eu Kay recipe on my site, which we already discussed:)
    I will try this in the near future. But first I need to invest in gochujang.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. I have completely forgotten your recipe. It’s true they are quite similar.

  5. This chicken really sounds and looks delicious Sissi…I like the idea of using legs meat…much more tender. I love the idea of salty, sour and spicy…
    Hope you are enjoying your week 🙂

  6. I thought of you yesterday as I was in my local market and they had a Korean sauce that I wondering if it was what you have mentioned before. Seeing this post…it was and now I have a source so that I can try this recipe. 😀

    1. Hi, Karen. Thank you so much for the kind comment. Korean cuisine is addictive, especially if you like the mixture of sweet and hot flavours.

  7. Do you know what happened to Azusa? How come she stopped blogging? That’s too bad… she takes amazing pictures and her recipes look wonderful, too.

    I actually never had shoyu chicken before. A lot of people asked me for the recipe before and I had no idea what do they mean by shoyu + chicken. Later I found out it’s Hawaiian dish. =P I have to do this one day. I like that you added gochujang! I’ll definitely try yours first. 😀

    1. Thanks a lot, Nami. I would love to see her blogging again… She had such interesting dishes. Very simple, but so creative and unusual at the same time! If you ever prepare shoyu chicken use low-sodium soy sauce. With the standard sauce, it gets quickly very very salty (especially when the sauce thickens), so you have to add more sweetener… In short, I find it healthier and even tastier this way. I hope you will like it! (Personally I could have it all my life once a week…).

  8. I would remove the skin too, I don’t like my chicken fatty. Good to know that shoyu is Japanese for soy sauce. Your dish certainly looks very inviting Sissi, I think I would enjoy a bite or two and then I can give some to my husband. let’s see if it’s his food. He is still very suspicious about East Asian food. That’s because it’s not common here at all or maybe it’s because I am not that good in making such a dish. you are way better in that. =)

    1. Thank you, Helene. I like chicken skin but when it’s crisp and roasted. I hate soft skin and since it adds a lot of fat… I prefer to remove it, but some people love it this way. It’s a very easy dish, so I hope you will try it.

  9. wow, gorgeous looking Sissi! I feel full of warmth in the presence of this beautiful dish. You know how much we love your shoyu chicken — in fact, I think I agree precisely with your two top descriptors: flavor and ease. I have nothing but respect for hassle free, time saving meals that nourish and satisfy our desires ;-). I find a lot of those over here and that’s why I keep coming back! (that, plus the fact that I like you too of course 😉 ). The gochujang is going to be a challenge… I will have to travel about to see if I can find it because I would love to try this version. I don’t have a hope of finding it nearby — my local safeway doesn’t even stock almond butter (too exotic, lol).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. You are so kind with all the compliments… (Yes, whenever I make shoyu chicken… I think of you… it’s such a pleasure to share a food preference with you…). If you have any Korean grocery shop (online too), do buy it (I am almost sure you can buy it on Amazon too!). It keeps forever in the fridge once opened… I’m sure you will love it!

  10. Sounds delicious! With just cooked warm rice and this chicken is perfect meal for me….maybe some kimchi on the side is more than perfect. This is definitely the keeper recipe.

    1. Thank you, Nipponnin. This is one of the laziest warm meals I know… I hope you will try it one day.

  11. I have already copied the recipe to make it, taking out the Korean paste because I prefer it mild. Indeed looks very easy to prepare. I think it is perfect for weekdays or nights when you don’t want too much fuss in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing it Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Katerina. If you prefer the lighter version, try this one (with tomato paste instead of gochujang): I hope you will like it! It’s also delicious reheated. In short, perfect for busy home cooks 😉 (Just make sure you don’t add too much soy sauce…).

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