This char siu chicken recipe has a homemade marinade that gives these drumsticks a crispy, sticky, and tasty coating! This is a perfect and easy Japanese meal to make when you want lots of flavor from a simple recipe.
What Is Char Siu Chicken?
Char siu, meaning “fork-roast,” is Chinese barbecued pork that is made from a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, red food colouring, and a few other ingredients and is usually eaten with rice or served as a main dish.
In Japan, however, it is typically served on top of ramen and usually isn’t made with the five-spice powder or red food colouring.
I’m not a big fan of pork though so I decided to use chicken drumsticks instead. You can definitely use this same marinade recipe to coat pork as well if you like.
Once the chicken has marinated for a while, all you have to do is chuck it in the oven and let it roast then you can serve it however you like!
Why You Will Love Char Siu Chicken Drumsticks
Easy oven-baked chicken drumsticks coated in the best marinade ever made from a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, curry powder, and garlic to give the chicken a tasty coating of the char siu flavour!
The chicken is so tasty and tender and absorbs the marinade overnight so after it’s baked, every bite will pack a punch of the delicious sauce! These drumsticks are a great meal for dinner or finger food for a party or even make a perfect post-workout protein snack!
About 20 years ago when I was still living in Japan, I was watching my favourite cooking show and they were teaching the recipe for these marinated pork char siu. It looked so good so I wrote down the recipe and I’ve kept it ever since; I even packed it with me when I moved to Australia and now I’m making the recipe again and sharing it with you!
This is my favourite marinade flavour ever (obviously, I mean I kept the recipe for over 20 years and even took it with me when I left Japan) because it’s got a delicious Asian flavour that makes the chicken drumsticks taste amazing!
Ingredients In Char Siu Chicken Marinade
If you have ever cooked Japanese food before, then you probably have what you need for this chicken in your pantry. If not, then they are really easy to find at your local supermarket.
Here is a bit more information about what I used in the marinade:
- Onion: Either a white or yellow onion will work for this recipe.
- Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder instead. Fresh garlic cloves will taste so much better though.
- Soy Sauce: This is what gives the chicken the umami flavor. If you are gluten-free, use coconut aminos instead.
- Oyster Sauce: There isn’t a perfect replacement for oyster sauce, but fish sauce or Hoisin sauce could work if that’s what you have.
- Sugar: You only need a little bit to sweeten this marinade. If you are trying to eat sugar-free, then use your favorite sugar-free sweetener instead.
- Curry Powder: Any type of curry powder will taste delicious in this marinade. You can also use garam masala spice instead of curry powder.
- Sesame Oil: This brings a nutty undertone to the flavor, but you can use avocado oil instead if you don’t have sesame oil.
What To Serve With Char Siu Chicken Drumsticks
These sticky drumsticks make the perfect family meal. Everyone can pick up their own – they are not only delicious, but they are a lot of fun to eat too.
To make it a complete meal, just serve them with your favorite side dish. Since they have such a bold flavor, they taste perfect with some mild green peas and rice. If you want a rice dish with more taste, then make some kimchi fried rice.
For some healthy veggies, toss some green beans and mustard greens in goma ae sesame seed dressing. It’s so tasty even people that don’t like veggies will enjoy it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Char Siu Chicken
Before I share the printable recipe card, here are some questions people often ask about how to make char siu flavoured chicken drumsticks.
Marinate the chicken drumsticks for at least an hour. I like to marinate them overnight. This way, the flavours really soak into the chicken.
Yes, you can use this recipe on pork cutlets, pork chops, or even an entire pork tenderloin.
Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. Use an instant-read food thermometer to check the internal temperature before you take them out of the oven.
More Japanese Chicken Recipes
Here are some more authentic Japanese recipes that are made with chicken.
- The Best Teriyaki Chicken
- Chicken Katsu Curry
- Popcorn Chicken Karaage Infusion
- Chicken Nanban
- Oyako Don (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)
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Oven-Baked Char Siu Flavoured Chicken Drumsticks
- 1 kg chicken drumsticks
- 1/2 a large onion about 70g
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp oyster Sauce
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and mix together with all other marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pierce the chicken drumsticks in several places with a fork then add to the marinade mix and rub the marinade in.
- Cover with saran wrap and leave in the fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Bake the chicken drumsticks on 220 c (430 f) for about 20 minutes.
- Flip each chicken drumstick over and bake for a further 20 minutes so both sides are golden brown and crispy.