Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken Hekka

Another tropical recipe from Sam Choy. Mr. Choy says while growing up, his family always made Chicken Hekka for mainland guests. He describes this dish as being "comfort food" and a "cornerstone recipe" in his cookbook.

But what the heck is Chicken Hekka? There isn't much about it online. Hekka is apparently a Hawaiian word but when I played around with Hawaiian/English translators, I found no entries. Other blogs claim Hekka is based on Japanese cooking and is pretty much the same as Japanese sukiyaki - a one pot meal made with thin sliced vegetables and meat.

Regardless of what it is, Chicken Hekka is easy to make and it's pretty good.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce*
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp sucanat

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Add chicken and toss well to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Sake Sauce:
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce*
1/4 cup chicken broth*
1/4 cup sake or Chinese cooking wine

1. Mix everything together in a small bowl and set aside.

Hawaiian cooking does not involve spice. You may wish to add a dash or two or Sriracha to spice things up, or leave as is for a mild flavour.

Stir Fry:
marinated chicken (as above)
1 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
1 carrot, julienned
1 stalk celery, julienned
3 stalks green onion, cut in 1 inch lengths
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 cups watercress leaves
1 bundle (2 oz) thin rice noodles, cooked, drained and cut into 1 inch lengths
prepared Sake Sauce (as above)
1/2 block firm tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes (optional)

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and chicken. Brown chicken.

2. Add bamboo shoots, carrot and celery. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add onion and green onion and stir fry for another minute or two.

3. Add 1/2 cup Sake Sauce and rice noodles. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Sauce will absorb into noodles.

4. Gently stir in tofu and watercress. Mix everything together well. Remove from heat. Serve with rice, more rice noodles or as is.

*Use Gluten Free, if needed.


  1. Sounds simple and delicious. Very much like Japanese chicken noodle dishes.

  2. I always see "Hekka", but I never knew what it was either! I'm glad I'm not the only one ;)

    Looks very simple to make, I will need to add this to my to-do! Although it is very long lol.


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