Soy Glazed Black Pepper Chicken
Entrees, Hakka, Recipes

Soy-glazed Black Pepper Chicken

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THIS. This chicken dish will knock your socks off! It’s Hakka recipe #2 I’m sharing with you this year and you’re gonna LOVE it.

You should already know by now that I adore The Hakka Cookbook by Linda Lau Anusasananan. This soy-glazed black pepper chicken recipe is what I’ll be keeping for the rest of my life, and I’m not kidding here. It’s one of the simplest chicken dishes you’ll ever cook and it’s got a big punch of flavors.

Linda had learned this chicken dish from a man named Ying Hsien who’s father is a Hakka. Ying Hsien grew up in Northern India, and had moved to Toronto after the Sino-Indian war in the 60’s because jobs became harder to find for the Chinese living in India. This soy-glazed black pepper chicken is what Ying Hsien learned from his mother in India, and I simply just can’t believe that all it takes are four ingredients to produce such a distinct taste.

soy glazed black pepper chicken

Don’t let the color fool you! The chicken might look really really dark but it’s not because the chicken is burnt. It’s dark because of the use of dark soy sauce. I added water to the original recipe but if you’re looking for a thicker, stickier sauce, adding less water to the pot will do the trick. The sauce will thicken up and reduce a bit as it cooks. I also deviated from the original cooking instructions and decided to sear the meat before braising which in my option makes a more tender bite. Searing will also change the overall texture by reducing fat from the chicken skin. And if you want to master this dish, use freshly cracked black pepper. It’ll take you a few extra minutes of cranking on a black pepper mill but it’ll enhance the spiciness of the dish by a mile.

Another tip when making this dish? Use a non-stick frying or saute pan. I love my Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick, and I don’t think I can live without it. I’ve tried using my Lodge Dutch oven and another pan that wasn’t non-stick, and the whole thing became a mess once the chicken and sauce started getting stuck to the bottom. It was not pretty and the sauce wasn’t able to stick to the chicken as well as it could because it was mostly stuck on the pan. So I highly recommend using a non-stick!

And what’s better to go with a super flavorful hunk of meat? WHITE RICE!

soy glazed black pepper chicken


soy glazed black pepper chicken

The outside is incredibly savory and aromatic while the inside is moist and tender. This is a dish I can devour everyday, hands down!

soy glazed black pepper chicken

Soy-glazed Black Pepper Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs with skin, about 6 pieces
  • 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • white rice, optional
  1. Trim excess fat off the chicken.
  2. Set a deep frying pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add oil and twirl the pan to spread. Sear each side of the chicken tights for 5 minutes. Remove most of the oil/fat except 1-2 tablespoons. Add freshly cracked black pepper, dark soy sauce, and water. Twirl the pan a few times to incorporate all the ingredients together. Once the sauce starts to boil, turn down the heat to medium-low. Let chicken to cook for 20 minutes, then flip them and cook the other side for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from the pan or dutch oven, serve hot over white rice, garnish with cilantro.
Adapted from The Hakka Cookbook by Linda Lau Anusasananan.


  • Karlos

    Everyone is saying it looks great. What does it taste like? The sauce is just soy sauce and pepper. Is this enough to give a suitably complex flavour. Just asking as I was expecting more spices and underlying layers of flavour in the ingredients.

  • Mila Furman

    OMG!!! This looks like a lacquer on the chicken! Swinging from Recipe Tin eats and saying HI!!! Love your blog and all the goodies on here!!! I love Asian cuisines and this looks fantabuloso!!! Looking forward to many more of your gorgeous recipes!

    • Saucy Spatula

      Thank you, Mila! :) You’re so kind! I’m so glad we’ve connected through FBC and the amazing Nagi! Hope to see you around more :)

      • Mila Furman

        Ditto!!! I have met so many incredible people through that group! Present company included :)

  • Maryanne @the little epicurean

    That looks ridiculously amazing! I love everything about that chicken. Pinned! :)

    • Saucy Spatula

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled!

  • nicole (

    That looks absolutely incredible, I love the beautiful reflection on the gorgeous deep and dark surface of the chicken, well done! :)

    • Saucy Spatula

      Thanks! That means A LOT coming from you, Nicole!

  • carolynjung

    This looks SO good, I can practically taste it just looking at the photos. Love this cookbook. It has so many favorite dishes that my late-Mom used to make. Now, whenever, I cook from this book, I can’t help but think fondly of her.

    • Saucy Spatula

      Thank you! This is the cookbook that I truly enjoy reading time after time. Linda’s work speaks volume, and I’m so glad to be learning from it.

  • Kathleen @ hapanom

    Whoa! This looks incredible! I love the look of that lacquer-like glaze on the chicken – so beautiful!. And thank you for mentioning Lee Kum Kee in your reply to Nagi. I don’t cook too often with dark soy sauce, but there are some dishes (like this one) where I would definitely want to use it. I’ve been on the hunt for a dark soy sauce, and haven’t yet found one that I really like, so your suggestion is much appreciated! It’s already on my shopping my list 😉

    • Saucy Spatula

      I still dream about this glazed chicken! I’m hungry just talking about it! I’m glad to hear that my “tip” on getting LKK’s sauces was useful :) There really are so many different kinds at the store and it can get quite overwhelming! LKK has grown to a global brand in the past 15-20 years, and I wouldn’t know what to do without it.

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you around more :)

  • Nagi | RecipeTin Eats

    ** Gasp ** Look at that glaze!! I must must MUST make this! Can I clarify the dark soy you use please? That term is used very loosely here in Australia. For example, we have kecap manis which is a sweet, syrupy soy sauce from Indonesia which is also called dark soy. What do you use? Thank you!

    • Saucy Spatula

      Thaaannkkss!! 😀

      Dark soy sauce is not the same thing as kecap manis, although it’s similar. If/When you go to the Asian supermarket, you should look for the Lee Kum Kee brand which carries a huge variety of Chinese sauces.

      On a side note, Lee Kum Kee is a Hong Kong brand so the standard of quality should be higher, and even though most of their products are made on the other side of the border these days in the city of Guangdong, I still trust Lee Kum Kee way more than other mainland Chinese brands in terms of food safety.

      This is the exact kind of dark soy sauce I keep in my pantry:

      I’m glad you asked, Nagi! I was just thinking last week that I should write a post on the things I keep in my pantry. Gotta get that ball rolling :)