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Chicken Hekka Recipe

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Chicken hekka is a popular dish in Hawai’i. Tender chicken stir fried with delicious vegetables tossed with noodles in a slightly sweet yet salty sauce. The ultimate comfort food.

close up of a bowl of chicken hekka

If you’ve been to any gathering here in Hawai’i there’s a good chance you’ve had a variation of chicken hekka. Amazingly delicious and simple to make. A hearty dish that will feed many.

Although this dish is not truly Japanese or Hawaiian it is a multicultural blend of flavors, just like that of Hawai’i.

It is said that “heka” is Hiroshima-ben for sukiyaki. Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish of meat that is slow cooked with vegetables. Heka became hekka overtime, possibly from a misspelling or pronunciation change

Ingredients to make chicken hekka

chicken hekka ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • cooking oil of choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, sliced
  • 1 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (8.1oz) bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 5 ounces bean thread rice noodles
  • green onion to garnish

Let’s talk chicken. I like to use boneless, skinless thighs, but you can also use breasts if you’d like.

Next the sauce. Shoyu sugar is a popular flavor combination, especially here in Hawai’i. Everything from shoyu chicken to miso shoyu pork to spam musubis. And of course chicken hekka.

Vegetables are added alongside the protein. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and carrots are in most recipe variations.

And lastly the noodles. Chicken hekka is made with rice noodles. You can use long rice or bean thread noodles, also known as glass noodles or vermicelli. This can be found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores.

hand holding chopsticks with chicken hekka

How to store chicken hekka?

Chicken hekka is best eaten fresh, however if you manage to have some leftovers you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The noodles will soak up a lot of the sauce as it sits. If your dish ends up more on the drier side you can add more of the shoyu sugar blend as needed.

How long does chicken hekka last?

Chicken hekka will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Can you freeze chicken hekka?

Yes.

How to defrost chicken hekka?

You can opt to defrost in the refrigerator overnight or place in the microwave on the defrost setting.

two bowls of chicken hekka

More local favorite recipes:

How to make chicken hekka

Set a large pot over medium high heat. Add cooking oil of choice, chicken, salt, and pepper. Cook until chicken is slightly browned.

pot of chicken for chicken hekka

Add ginger and continue cooking the chicken.

To a small bowl add shoyu and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.

pot of cooked chicken for chicken hekka

Add the shoyu mixture to the pot of chicken and continue to cook.

Then add bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrots, and onion. Continue to cook until softened.

vegetables added to cooked chicken for chicken hekka

While the chicken is cooking, set a pot of water over high heat. Heat until a rolling boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Generally you will only need to boil the noodles for a minute or two. Drain and set aside.

pot of chicken hekka

Once chicken has cooked through and vegetables have softened add the noodles and stir to combine. Garnish with green onions and ENJOY!

pot of chicken hekka
two bowls of chicken hekka

Chicken Hekka

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Chicken hekka is a popular dish in Hawai’i. Tender chicken stir fried with delicious vegetables tossed with noodles in a slightly sweet yet salty sauce. The ultimate comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • cooking oil of choice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, sliced
  • 1 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (8.1oz) bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 5 ounces bean thread rice noodles
  • green onion to garnish

Instructions

  1. Set a large pot over medium high heat. Add cooking oil of choice, chicken, salt, and pepper. Cook until chicken is slightly browned.
  2. Add ginger and continue cooking the chicken.
  3. To a small bowl add shoyu and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add the shoyu mixture to the pot of chicken and continue to cook.
  5. Then add bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrots, and onion. Continue to cook until softened.
  6. While the chicken is cooking set a pot of water over high heat. Heat until a rolling boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Generally you will only need to boil the noodles for a minute or two. Drain and set aside.
  7. Once chicken has cooked through and vegetables have softened add the noodles and stir to combine. Garnish with green onions and ENJOY!

Notes

*The bean thread noodles will soak up a lot of the sauce. You can always add more of the shoyu and sugar sauce as needed.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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By on July 16th, 2020

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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6 thoughts on “Chicken Hekka Recipe”

  1. Omg! Currently 13 weeks pregnant with twins, and was craving chicken hekka. I knew where to go and I’m so glad I did! It was so ‘ono and satisfied my cravings. Mahalo nui for sharing your fabulous ‘ono foods with us! Always come here when I have no idea what to cook for my ‘ohana, and it’s always on point!

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