I found an interesting recipe on Epicurious and adapted it over time. You can check out the original here (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Five-Spice-Chicken-105523). 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.
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. As you'll see form the picture, I used sauteed squash because I had some I had to use up.
I 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!