I found an interesting recipe on Epicurious for Grilled Five Spice Chicken and adapted it over time. You can check out the original on Epicurious. I made it a bit healthier by using boneless, skinless chicken, added some spices I like to the marinade, and boosted the flavor in the dipping sauce too.
I’ll admit that I really don’t measure anything when I cook so all of the amounts are approximate. Don’t sweat it – use more or less of things as you prefer. This comes together in a snap – I make the marinade in the morning before work and let it sit in the fridge all day. Then, when I get home, I pull it out to the counter and toast the star anise immediately. The dish comes together in 15 minutes from that point.
My husband loves this simple dish and it’s a big hit with my kids too! It’s also a great crowd pleaser at an outdoor BBQ. It’s like comfort food, made just a little more exotic than usual!
Grilled Five Spice Chicken & Marinade
1 ½ lbs. boneless chicken tenders or breasts cut into strips
2 Tbsp canola oil (or 1 Tbsp canola oil + 1 tbsp Asian style chili oil)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp ground coriander
4 star anise pods
Cilantro & Lime Sauce:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce, preferably low sodium variety
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Zest of one lime
1 tsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp finely chopped scallions
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the star anise and chicken. Stir well to blend. Add the chicken pieces and toss. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a zip log bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (and ideally overnight).
- Thirty minutes before cooking, remove the chicken and the marinade from the refrigerator, and allow to sit out at room temperature. Place the star anise pods in a dry, hot pan over medium high heat and toast for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and pound or grind in a spice grinder into a powder. Add the star anise powder to the chicken and marinade and stir well. Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cook the chicken on a traditional grill for about ten minutes, or use a stovetop grill pan, sprayed with a little non-stick cooking spray. Alternatively, you could even broil the chicken on high, turning a couple of times for even browning.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce. This chicken is great with some rice to soak up the extra sauce and an Asian-style slaw, steamed sugar snap peas, or broccoli sautéed with some sesame seeds and red pepper strips.