Thai Soy Sauce Chicken – a Versatile Side Dish or Snack (with Gluten-Free Option)


Thai Soy Sauce Chicken – a Versatile Side Dish or Snack (with Gluten-Free Option)



I was introduced to this easily made chicken dish, Gai See Ew, by my sister-in-law, Nai, who is from Chaing Mai in northern Thailand. She prepared it as an add-on, a substantial condiment, for the savory garnished rice soup, “Khao Dom,” that she served for a crowd. The luscious morsels of seasoned chicken were placed in a serving bowl near many other small dishes – tiny pork meatballs, fried garlic, pickled cabbage, green onion and cilantro – offered buffet-style for guests to spoon onto their soup. Soy sauce chicken is home cooking rather than a restaurant dish.


I’ve made these treats as a topping or side dish for Thai food, and just for a snack aimed at my chicken-loving grand kids when they come to dinner. It goes well on top of an Asian noodle soup, like Ramen, or a garnished rice bowl. Thai soy chicken also makes a great (and easy) snack for a picnic-like gathering or appetizer buffet.


One batch of the recipe below will make nibbles or add-ons for six people. Since the chicken pieces are marinated then fried, if multiples of the recipe are used, the frying should be done in batches so that the chicken actually fries fairly dry rather than stews, which would happen if the chicken pieces were too crowded in the pan.


Typical soy sauce contains gluten, since some wheat is fermented in with the soybeans in its production. If gluten needs to be avoided, use a gluten-free Tamari-type of soy sauce. No other ingredient in the dish contains gluten.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon soy sauce (see above if gluten must be avoided)

1 small clove garlic put through a garlic press or very finely minced

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

2-3 tablespoons vegetable) not olive) oil for frying

Several sprigs of cilantro for garnish, if desired


Trim off any tough or fatty parts of the chicken. Cut the chicken flesh into small pieces 1 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch in size. Mix well with the soy sauce, garlic, and dry ingredients. Allow to marinate, mixing occasionally, for at least an hour. Refrigerate if longer than that.


If making more than a single batch of chicken (1 pound), cook it in several lots of about one batch each so that the chicken pieces fry rather than stews.


Heat a large wok or frying pan to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons frying oil and when it’s hot add the chicken. Immediately begin stirring and frying the chicken pieces and scraping the bottom of the pan,  using a metal spatula or wok spatula. Cook this, stirring almost constantly, until no raw color remains and the surfaces start to turn golden, 5-7 minutes. Cut a piece of chicken in half to be sure the pink color is gone. Remove the chicken to a platter.


Serve warm as part of a meal, or at room temperature if using as an appetizer or part of a buffet.

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