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Soy (Sauce) Chicken + Warm Eggplant Salad

May 29, 2010 by Joan Nova in Asian | 19 Comments

As much as I love food, I dislike following recipes.  I do occasionally take guidance from outside sources, but the true joy for me is doing it ‘my way’. The creation process ranks right up there with the result.

Soy Chicken is a good case-in-point. I’ve had it a couple of times in restaurants but never made it. So, I spent a couple of minutes online to get a sense of the flavor profile, then I closed the laptop — and went for it!

I mentioned my theory and fondness for a certain type of Pacific Rim cooking in Asian Cooking – My Way and it jibes perfectly with my penchant for “doing it my way”. I’d also like to take a moment to make a comment about FOODalogue recipes and measurements.

The quantities in this ingredient list are an estimate (but close). True, I ended up with 3/4 cup of marinade but, like a mad scientist, I was just reaching, pouring and mixing. Like the ingredient list on packaged food, the items are noted in their order of importance and quantity.

I’ve always preferred to “suggest” ingredients and leave it up to the reader to decide quantity. I don’t know how many people you’re cooking for and if their palates can tolerate heat (I love it), salt (I use it), fat (only the ‘good’ and in moderation), spices (appropriately), sweet (not so much), etc.

I served the chicken with Green Bamboo Rice and Warm Eggplant Salad.

The Marinade (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup honey
a capful sesame oil
a couple of shakes Chinese 5 Spice powder
a sprinkle of chili flakes
[Next time I would add Star Anise + Fennel separately rather than relying on Chinese 5 Spice.]


  1. 4 trimmed chicken thighs (skin on, excess fat removed)
  2. put them in a baggie with marinade and refrigerate for a few hours
  3. remove from bag, pat dry (important) and bake at 350 degrees
  4. last few minutes under broiler to crisp up skin

Warm Eggplant Salad. Cut eggplant in strips, drizzle olive oil and salt and bake. Make vinaigrette with rice vinegar, green chile paste, sesame oil and fresh scallion. Toss with warm eggplant.

Finishing Touch: Chopped scallions and chow mein noodles.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. norma says:

    What a great combination. Everthing just looks so well together. I enjoy a dish with eggplants.

  2. Ellen says:

    I just bought some Asian eggplants and have been mulling over ideas on how to prepare them. I think I’ll use your warm eggplant salad recipe as a jumping off point on my own vegetarian version. Your combo looks delicious!

  3. What a terrific meal. I love the eggplant salad!

  4. Another stunning presentation Joan. I love your cooking philosphy and am trying to follow in your footsteps.

  5. Buela says:

    This is a masterpiece! A delight to look at and just imagine the flavor because……
    The menu here is
    Macaroni con queso
    pescado sin pan
    fresh strawberries…you guessed
    the grandkids are here!

  6. I love your style, Joan! That is how I do most of my cooking, too… but, there is always a small risk that it won’t be as good as it should be… but, that is how I learn. This looks amazing. Again, a very unusual flavour combination that can only be delicious once I have read it all. Where do you think up these ideas. I love them!

  7. Erica says:

    I don’t follow recipes either!!That looks yummy! I might have to give it a try soon. Love the pictures.

  8. Lori Lynn says:

    That warm eggplant salad is calling my name.
    I cook like you.

  9. I can relate! I hate following recipes, it spoils the fun for me! I love what you did with this dish, the green rice contrasts very well with the chicken and eggplant and the meat is cooked to perfection; must be that marinade!

  10. Sommer says:

    This looks incredible! I too love asian-inspired dishes–it’s fun to work with flavors you love and come up with new preparations!

  11. Penny says:

    Love the flavor profile with the chicken thighs. I bet they would be good on the grill too.

  12. Amen on the improvising! These pictures are amazing & I love your blog! I actually feel like I can taste this dish! My sister makes green bamboo rice all the time -will have to pick some up this week!

  13. Beautiful and sure looks tasty. We use same approach to cooking down to surfing for ‘recipes’ and then make up my own. “Recipes” just kills your creativity cause you’re just following directions. I don’t care about ‘authenticity’ as long as it takes good!

  14. peter says:

    Ya done Asian good here, looks great on the plate and that Chinese 5-spice goes a long way for flavour.

  15. Maria says:

    Not only does this dish look and sound delicious but you’ve presented it so beautifully … and in more than one way!

  16. That sounds amazing–the saltiness of the chicken with the lush flavor of the eggplant must taste delicious together.

  17. Marie says:

    I want to ditch what I was making for dinner tonight and make this! This looks terrific Joan!

  18. elly says:

    I make a very similar dish to this, adding some sesame seeds to the mix (sort of like a sesame chicken). Love the idea of using thighs (my favorite!) and the eggplant salad looks fabulous.

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