A couple of weeks ago, I made Hainanese Chicken Rice, a favorite Singaporean dish where chicken is boiled in a rich stock, with flavorful accompaniments of chili and ginger sauces, and served with with fragrant sauteed and steamed rice.
This Cantonese favorite, Soy-braised Chicken, uses five spice powder as its dominant flavor. A blend of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and szechuan peppercorn combines the unique flavors of Chinese cuisine - sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter.
The next day I marinated and braised some pork spareribs in the leftover sauce, and they were just as delicious!
Soy-braised Five Spice Chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 whole chicken (about 1.5kg)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons kecap manis or thick, dark soya sauce
large knob (about 3 inches) ginger, bruised
3/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
In a wok over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and sugar. As soon as the sugar begins to caramelize into a golden brown syrup, immediately add the chicken and roll around the caramel to thoroughly coat all sides. Turn chicken over a few times for an even golden coating.
Add the water, soy sauces, ginger, five spice powder and salt. Bring stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Turn chicken over gently, making sure not to bruise the skin, then continue simmering for another 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let chicken rest in the stock, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Lift chicken from the stock onto a chopping board. Chop into small pieces (debone the chicken if desired). Arrange on a serving plate with some sauteed chinese vegetables.
In the meantime, reduce the remaining stock over high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add sesame oil. Drizzle over the chicken and serve some extra sauce on the side.