There’s just three ingredients in this recipe: chicken thighs, hoisin sauce and dark soy sauce. Put them into a slow cooker and six hours later the chicken will be soft and delicious. Shred it and put it under a grill to get caramelised, crispy bits.
I don’t add any water to the slow cooker because the chicken thighs release plenty. Halfway through the cooking time I break the chicken up so it absorbs more of the sauce and I leave the lid slightly ajar so the sauce thickens but you don’t have to do this if it's inconvenient.
Chicken thighs are a must, especially if you’re going to grill the chicken, which dries it out a little. I’ve experimented with including a large chicken breast and increasing the amount of sauce to 65g, as well as reducing the slow cooking time to four hours to stop the breast from drying out. It worked very well. I don't think you can solely use chicken breasts for this recipe as they don't contain enough fat but if you really wanted to then I would skip the grilling step altogether.
I originally made this chicken to go with stir-fried noodles and I’ve since had it in bao buns, salads, tacos and sandwiches. All were delicious but the bao buns (see second photo) were a highlight, especially considering that they were made with leftover chicken and pre-made buns from M&S.
I use the ‘low’ slow cook function on my Instant Pot.
If you want to cook the chicken for longer, say eight hours, then add 2 tablespoons of water to the slow cooker so the chicken doesn’t dry out.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours or in the freezer for up to three months.
- 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 50g hoisin sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee)
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- spring onions, finely sliced (to finish)
- Put 500g of chicken thighs, 50g of hoisin sauce and 2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce into a slow cooker on the Low setting. Stir and set the timer for 4-6 hours.
- Optional: Halfway through the cooking time, use a wooden spoon to break the chicken up and prop the lid slightly open if the sauce looks watery.
- Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Once the chicken has finished slow cooking, drain off any excess sauce (you probably won't need to do this if the lid has been propped open) and spread the chicken over the prepared baking tray. Grill for around 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken has crisped up to your liking. Serve immediately and top with sliced spring onions (optional).