Salt the chicken generously, and leave for 10 minutes. Wash the salt off with water, pat dry and roll up with the skin side out.
Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap, and twist both ends shut as it were a piece of candy. Make about 10 small holes in the plastic with a toothpick. If you don't make the holes, the plastic will inflate and may burst when it's heated.
Put the wrapped chicken in a pot of boiling water, and boil for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down very low, and don't let it boil up. This broth will be used later for the marinade.
Turn off the heat when the 30 minutes are up. Unwrap the chicken, and leave it in the broth for about 20 minutes. This broth makes for a delicious soup base so don't throw it out.
Make the marinade. Smash the 3 garlic cloves. Put all the marinade ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Don't let it simmer down too much because you don't want to reduce it.
While the marinade is still hot, put the chicken and that marinade (with the garlic and leek too) in a bowl, and leave as is so that the chicken can soak up flavor.
When the liquid has cooled down, put in the soft boiled eggs so that they can soak up the flavor too. Turn the eggs over occasionally so that they are evenly flavored.
Cover the chicken and eggs with kitchen parchment paper to prevent the surface from drying out. Spoon the marinade over them occasionally.
After 12 hours, the chicken and eggs will look really nice. If you can, marinate them for about 24 hours.
Slice the chicken to your desired thickness. I recommend slicing it rather thickly (at least 5 mm)!
Arrange the sliced chicken with some cooked spinach and finely julienned white leek on a plate, and spoon on some of the marinade. Add the eggs, and serve!
To see how to cook soft boiled eggs, see (Recipe ID: 850498).
For a char siu that is baked in the oven, see (Recipe ID: 1319566).
Instructions for how to prep inexpensive chicken breast meat for the best results (Recipe ID: 1115033).
Use the broth from Step 4 to make soup! It's delicious (Recipe ID: 934231).
Here's a recipe for authentic char siu (Recipe ID: 837298).
Story Behind this Recipe
-If you want to reuse the marinade, bring it to a boil again, and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. -It's hard to get a hold of bone-in chicken breast in Japan, and it's a bother to de-bone it anyway, so I thought up this easy recipe. -It's great as an appetizer to eat with beer! Yummy!
-Since the meat is salted before it's boiled, it loses its gaminess and the umami intensifies! -This is usually made with bone-in chicken, but this recipe uses boneless meat which is easier to deal with. -Since it's cooked while wrapped in plastic, the umami doesn't escape and the resulting char siu is moist and tender.