I don't think they serve this dish at many Chinese restaurants in America because this is just too... Chinese? I just know that this stuff is delicious and we used to eat it infrequently as a kid. I'm not sure why, but that was how it was. If you have access to a well stocked Asian grocery, you should be able to find bottled soy sauce chicken marinade similar to this. That's similar to a soy sauce chicken marinade as far as I can tell, and that stuff is delicious.
I did some snooping around the internet for a recipe since my mom doesn't remember her recipe. It's been a long time; I can't blame her for forgetting. Anyways, the internet told me that the star players involved were: ginger, garlic, soy sauce (duh), star anise, cinnamon stick, sugar, and water. Cooooooooool. So I just kind of threw that stuff together in a dutch oven in whatever amounts I deemed acceptable.
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 tablespoons of julienne ginger
4 cloves of crushed/bruised garlic
2 stalks of green onions, diced
a whole bunch of sugar*
3 cups of water
3 cups of soy sauce
Chicken. However much you want to eat.
* So so so sorry, kids. I have no idea how much sugar I put in here. I put in like 1/2 a cup of sugar, but it just didn't taste sweet enough. I kept adding a little more and a little more and I have no idea how much I actually added. It must have been somewhere between 1/2 cup to a whole cup of sugar. I'm sorry. :( Just taste your marinade and carefully add in your sugar a little bit at a time. It should taste like sweet soy sauce.
1. Combine all ingredients into a dutch oven except for the soy sauce. Bring it to a boil, and then lower it to a simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Add in the soy sauce and stir your mixture. Taste the marinade and adjust the flavor as necessary. Bring to a boil.
3. Add in your chicken. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. For chicken drumsticks, simmer for 15-20 minutes depending on how big they are.
You can keep this marinade forever. No joke. After you finished your first batch of chicken, save the marinade! You can continue to use it and make soy sauce chicken until you've used up all the sauce! I've made like 20 batches so far, and the marinade just gets tastier and tastier!
When I was looking for online recipes, this one recipe told me that I should keep a one to three water to soy sauce ratio. That meant something like one cup of water to three cups of soy sauce. Do not follow this ratio. That's what I did for my very first batch of chicken, and holy moly, it was like eating concentrated soy sauce. I didn't know how the marinade was supposed to taste, so I assumed that even though it was so soy sauce-y, that my chicken wouldn't be. Wrong! Your chicken will taste just like your marinade. Surprised? So if you taste test it, and it's too salty or sweet or whatever, your chicken will be too.
Here's the finished product. I served with white rice with an egg (over easy) on top. Super tasty!
To end this post, I'm going to tell you that I felt super Asian making this dish, and I smelled like sweet soy sauce for a month. It was awesome. :)