The Comfort of Shoyu Chicken

For those of us who grew up in Hawaii, certain local foods always stir feelings of comfort. These are the foods we think about on a cold wintry day at college and the ones we long for after night upon night of eating out when traveling. Simple and unfussy, they are foods that make us feel good — dishes we associate with the warmth and comfort of home.

For me, one of those local comfort foods is shoyu chicken. I love the aroma of the sauce, the flavors of ginger, garlic, and shoyu with a hint of sweetness, and the way the tender chicken just falls off the bone. It never fails to remind me of high school, where the dish was one of the most popular items made by the cafeteria.

Amazingly, even though I love to cook, I had never made shoyu chicken myself — until last night when I tried Chef Keoni Chang’s recipe for it on our website. My mother never made the dish, and believe it or not, it was harder than I expected to find a recipe for this local staple. When I asked Keoni, our corporate chef, to consider a recipe for shoyu chicken, his initial response was “everyone knows how to make that.” But when we asked around our office, we found there were many people that do not know how to make the local dishes they love. So Keoni agreed to start creating recipes for local comfort foods and favorite dishes — and the response has been fantastic!

I could not believe how simple the shoyu chicken recipe was and it was a hit with my family too. I served it with jasmine rice, sugar snap peas stir fired quickly in sesame oil, and a spinach salad wilted with a hot dressing of olive oil, garlic, dried apricots, and walnuts. But no matter what accompaniments you make, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. Try out the recipe yourself and while you’re at it, check out the other great local recipes Keoni has created too! (His garlic chicken is now a favorite in our house!)

Thank you for checking out Chef Keoni Chang’s delicious shoyu chicken recipe and we invite you to share your favorite “secret” tweaks or add ons in comments below!