Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise

7 Dec

chinese chicken

I love to cook, and am happy to make my own bread, stock, ice cream, sushi or whatever. So long as the effort justifies the end result, I consider it time well spent.

But I equally love it when a only small amount of effort is needed to produce something delicious. Along with Barbados cream, Grasmere gingerbread, and sardine pesto, chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise is one of those recipes.

With a few basic Chinese ingredients and ten minutes, I can produce an authentic and satisfying dish that everybody loves. So it’s no surprise that Chinese chicken (as the girls call it) has become a regular midweek supper.

(We’ve been known to eat it while singing “I love Chinese chicken” to the tune of the chorus from Devendra Banhart’s “Chinese Children”.)

Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise
(serves 4)

  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil
  • a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 12 chicken thigh fillets, boned, skinned and cut in half
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine
  • 1 Tb honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 star anise
  1. Heat a wok over medium heat, and dry fry the Szechuan peppercorns for a couple of minutes, stirring so that they don’t burn. Tip them into a mortar and pestle and crush lightly.
  2. Reheat the wok and add the oil. Briefly fry the garlic and ginger then add the chicken and cook until browned.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice wine, honey and soy sauce, then add it to the wok along with the Szechuan pepper corns and star anise.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the wok and simmer for twenty minutes.
  5. If the sauce looks thin, increase the heat and cook uncovered for a few minutes until reduced.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.

4 Responses to “Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise”

  1. Margo December 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    I have a similar recipe that I love for,the same reasons. Mine substitutes a good measure of Dijon for the anise and Szechuan pepper that Americanizes (Frenchifies?) the dish.

    • Andrea December 7, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      You’ll have to share that recipe with me some time!

  2. Denise December 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Oh that looks so incredibly good!

    • Andrea December 8, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks Denise – and gluten-free too with the right type of soy sauce!

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