Chicken in oyster sauce is the ultimate comfort food for me. Sticky gravy tops off this elegantly simple chicken dish, which gets its rich umami flavor from the oyster sauce and the classic Chinese aromatics of scallion, ginger, and garlic. In no time at all, this chicken in a sweet and savory oyster sauce will be a household staple in your home.
If you’re a fan of chicken as much as I am, you’ll love this dish.
Some people might use napkins instead of licking their fingers when eating this chicken, only to have to quickly wash their hands in the sink afterward to remove the sticky gravy. I realize this may be offensive to some more refined readers, but yes, it is that kind of chicken.
When I got my first job in Binghamton, New York, this meal of chicken in oyster sauce was the first thing I made for friends. It was one of those male-only dinners where I would help out in the kitchen on the condition that everyone else brought beer and chips. As a result of my mother’s excellent teaching, I felt confident in my ability to make this dish. Thus the transaction was simple.
Have fun with this, everyone!
- 4 chicken leg quarters
- 4 slices of smashed fresh ginger (¼-inch thick)
- 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
- 3 scallions (cut into 2-inch pieces)
- 2½ cups of chicken stock
- ¼ cup of Shaoxing wine
- 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- Get rid of any visible fat from the chicken, then rinse it thoroughly. Chicken leg quarters are called for in this recipe, but you can choose to break them up into drumsticks and thighs instead for more manageable chunks in the wok.
- Distribute the two teaspoons of oil you will need to coat your wok or large frying pan over medium heat.
- Sear the chicken for about 3 minutes, skin side down, until it is golden brown.
- Then, you’ll want to flip the chicken and add the smashed ginger pieces to the bottom of the pan. Caramelize the ginger slices by cooking them in oil for 1–2 minutes on each side.
- Then, throw in several garlic cloves and the scallion whites. Keep in the oil for a minute to cook. Make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the wok by using a metal spatula, taking care not to tear the skin.
- Deglaze the skillet with the Shaoxing wine, and simmer for a further minute or two. Toss the chicken broth, sauces (soy, oyster, white pepper, and sesame oil), and pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a boil after you have stirred it to ensure proper mixing. Take it down to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn the chicken halves over with tongs or chopsticks and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Even if there seems to be enough sauce in the pan, you may want to add a little more chicken stock.
- The chicken should then be exposed, and the green scallion parts added. Reduce the liquid by cooking it uncovered until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.
- Using a meat thermometer, cook the chicken to 165 degrees F. Fork the thickest part of the chicken leg quarter to check doneness; the juices should run clear. The chicken is ready when it reaches the desired doneness; from here, the sauce’s consistency is up to you. If you prefer a gravy with more body, turn up the heat to reduce it.
- With white rice and your preferred vegetables, serve the chicken with the rich gravy and the simmered down garlic, ginger, and scallions. Broccoli and bok choy stir-fried with garlic are two excellent options.