Rainbow Drive in Shoyu Chicken Recipe: Easy to Make With All Ingredients!

Rainbow Drive in Shoyu Chicken Recipe: Easy to Make With All Ingredients!

Aloha! Calling all foodies and fans of flavour! Today, we’re diving into a Hawaiian classic: Shoyu Chicken, also known as Soy Sauce Chicken.

Sure, Hawaii might be synonymous with swaying palms and crystal-clear waters, but trust me, their food scene is just as captivating. Ask any local or visitor about must-try Hawaiian dishes, and Shoyu Chicken is bound to pop up on many lists.

Now, I’m not saying it’ll dethrone surfing as the main Hawaiian attraction, but this savory chicken dish is no exaggeration. It’s a local favourite, and for good reason!

One of my personal havens for devouring incredible Shoyu Chicken (or Soy Sauce Chicken, if you prefer) is Nagasako Okazu Deli on the beautiful island of Maui. This hidden gem might be small and unassuming, but the line of locals snaking out the door speaks volumes. Not to add, the personnel is as friendly and inviting as the sunshine in Hawaii. I usually make sure to include their renowned Shoyu Chicken in my Maui agenda.

Want to try this delicious Hawaiian treat but are stranded in Oahu? Be at ease! A popular spot for locals to get a plate lunch full of Shoyu Chicken is Rainbow Drive-In. The next time you’re daydreaming about Hawaii, keep in mind that the islands are home to more than simply gorgeous beaches; some pretty amazing cuisine is just waiting to be discovered!

Which is the Best Chicken Cut?

A symphony of delicious flavors, Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken is all about the cut of chicken as much as the sauce. For good reason, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are the traditional favorite for this recipe! Now let’s explore why these thighs are the best option:

  • Powerhouse of Flavor: The bone gives the braising liquid a layer of natural sweetness and richness that gives the chicken depth of flavor.
  • Textural Delight: The skin has a delicious contrast in texture, with a crispy exterior and a juicy, yielding interior. As it crisps and releases its own delectable oils, it also contributes another layer of savory taste.
  • Champion of Braising: Compared to breast meat, chicken thighs are inherently more forgiving. The lengthy braising technique won’t cause them to dry out, so the finished dish will be exquisitely soft and juicy.

Now, if you are unable to locate skin-on, bone-in thighs, do not worry. As long as they preserve the bone-in, skin-on magic, other cuts like wings or drumsticks can function equally well. Just be careful not to eat skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Because of their delicate nature, they are not appropriate for the braising process used to create Shoyu Chicken and are prone to overcooking.

Secret Ingredient for Shoyu Chicken

Move over, teriyaki, there’s a new twist in town for your Hawaiian chicken fix! I’m going to reveal today the secret ingredient that makes my Shoyu Chicken dish legendary: pineapple juice! Or should I say, the pineapple chunks?

Indeed, you heard correctly. To bring your Shoyu Chicken to a whole new level of flavor, add a little bit of this magical tropical touch. This is the reason it’s so revolutionary:

  • Sweet Symphony: The natural sweetness of pineapple juice melds well with the savory base of shoyu sauce. It provides a pleasant counterbalance and keeps the meal from tasting too salty.
  • Vibrant and Well-Composed: The tartness of pineapple juice serves as a clarifying agent, slicing through the richness of the braising liquid while introducing a hint of freshness. This acidity contributes to a more lively and well-balanced flavor profile.
  • Island Inspiration: Let’s get real here—pineapple is almost always associated with Hawaii. A fitting and enjoyable approach to honor the island’s culinary culture is to incorporate it into your Shoyu Chicken.

What’s the best thing, then? This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so every spoonful of rice and every bite of chicken will get a good dousing of that mouthwatering symphony of flavor. It really is that wonderful! In your next Shoyu Chicken trip, throw off the ordinary and embrace the remarkable with a dash of pineapple juice.

How to Make Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken?

Want a taste of the islands but lack the time or food to indulge? Look no farther than this super simple recipe for Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken! This dish’s simplicity is what makes it so beautiful—all you need is one pot to prepare a filling and tasty dinner.

My weapon of choice is a trusty Dutch oven. Its spacious interior allows for easy browning of the chicken without overcrowding, and the deep design keeps splatters under control. Plus, cleanup is a breeze! Of course, a large stainless steel pot can work just as well.

  1. Put the chicken thighs in a big pot or Dutch oven to brown them. Cook the skin side down at first and continue cooking over medium-high heat until it attractively browns. After flipping the thighs, brown the opposite side. At this stage, the chicken only has to be browned; it doesn’t need to be cooked through. Take out and place aside. Continue with the other thighs.
  2. Reduce the heat to low when all of the chicken thighs have browned. The remaining fat in the pot can be absorbed using a few paper towels. Add the ginger and garlic, and simmer until fragrant. Add the brown sugar, stir, and let it melt and turn caramel. This will highlight the sugar’s additional richness.
  3. Stir in pineapple juice, soy sauce, and chicken broth to deglaze the pot. Make careful to remove any browned portions from the bottom. If at all feasible, add the chicken thighs in a single layer. After adjusting the heat to medium-high, bring it to a boil. Put a lid on and simmer over medium-low heat for half an hour.
  4. After removing the cover, return the heat to medium-high. To make cornstarch slurry, combine cornstarch and water. Return the sauce to a boil after whisking in half. One spoonful at a time, repeat the process with the cornstarch slurry until you get the desired consistency.

Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken Ingredients

  • 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Shoyu Chicken Sauce:
  • 1 cup Aloha shoyu
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 oz peeled ginger
  • Slurry (to thicken)
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 3 tablespoon water

Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken Instructions

Browning the Chicken:

  1. Grab your Dutch oven or a large pot and heat it up on medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of oil to coat the bottom.
  2. Now, take your chicken thighs, skin side down, and place them in the pot. Don’t crowd the pot, brown them in batches if needed. Let them sizzle and cook until the skin turns nice and golden brown and crispy. You don’t have to fully cook them through yet, just focus on the brown color.
  3. Once browned, flip the chicken and cook the other side for a little while. Then take them out and set them aside on a plate. Repeat this browning process for all the chicken thighs.

Flavoring the Sauce:

  1. Turn down the heat to low. Grab some paper towels and carefully soak up most of the oil left in the pot. Try not to scrape up the brown bits stuck on the bottom, they add flavor!
  2. Throw in the ginger and garlic, and cook them over low heat until they become fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
  3. Now, add the brown sugar and stir it occasionally until it melts and turns a nice caramel color.
  4. Time to deglaze the pot! Pour in the chicken broth, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. Be sure to scrape up all those yummy browned bits from the bottom while stirring.
  5. Put the browned chicken thighs back into the pot, try to arrange them in a single layer. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover it and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

Thickening the Sauce (optional):

  1. In a small bowl, mix together some cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  2. Increase the heat back to medium-high. Slowly add half of the cornstarch slurry to the pot while stirring. Bring it back to a boil.
  3. If the sauce isn’t thick enough for your liking, add more of the cornstarch slurry a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly, until it reaches your desired consistency.

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