Five-Spice Chicken w/ Soy Lime Dipping Sauce (and Green Bean Salad) — asian , chicken , marinade , vegetables — For Two, Please

August 01, 2009

Five-Spice Chicken w/ Soy Lime Dipping Sauce (and Green Bean Salad)

I love recipes that require marinating. Specifically, because I'm lazy...and marinating usually requires very little prep work :D It's also wonderful to come home from work to a practically pre-made dinner. Pop the marinated meat into the oven, and voila! -- dinner is ready. Not only does this make for a quick and easy supper, it also ensures that that your meat will be extra flavorful and moist since it's been marinating in sauces all day/night. It's all about the small investments, big returns.

This recipe was no exception. The marinade was easy, yet the combination of spices yielded a fresh, bold and complex flavor. Five-spice alone is fairly vibrant. But when paired with turmeric and freshly roasted star anise, the flavor becomes increasingly fragrant and explosive. I would highly recommend serving this dish with the Soy Lime Dipping Sauce that is supposed to accompany it. It offsets the chicken's "spicyness" perfectly with a bright and refreshing lime taste that has just the right amount of heat. I literally drowned every bite of chicken in it :)

Pair this with a simple green bean salad and white rice. The fluffy rice will soak up all the flavorful juices wonderfully.

Five-Spice Chicken
Adapted from Epicurious, August 2001

Makes 4 servings

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 T vegetable oil
2 T soy sauce
3 T minced ginger
2 T minced garlic
2 T sugar
2 t ground turmeric
1 t Chinese five-spice powder
4 whole star anise, toasted and ground into fine powder

In a bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, turmeric and five-spice powder. Stir well to blend. Add chicken pieces, coating them evenly. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Broil the chicken for around 10 minutes, turning over occasionally. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Soy Lime Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Epicurious, 2001

1 clove garlic. minced
2 fresh Thai bird chilies, minced
2 1/2 T sugar
1/3 C soy sauce
2 1/2 T fresh lime juice with pulp
1/4 C water

Combine the garlic, chilies and sugar together in a small bowl. Add soy sauce, lime juice and water. Stir until well blended.

Green Bean Salad with Cilantro and Soy-Glazed Almonds
Bon Appetit, 1996

Serves 6

1/4 C whole almonds
4 t soy sauce

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 T rice vinegar
1 t vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 t fresh ginger, minced
2 T thinly sliced green onions
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves

Stir almonds in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted. Add 3 t soy sauce and stir until soy sauce evaporates and coats almonds. Cool and chop.

Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger, and remaining 1 t soy sauce in a large bowl to blend. Add green beans and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle almonds, green onions and cilantro leaves over salad and serve.


  1. The chicken marinade sounds delicious, but I'm confused about the preparation of the star anise. How long should it be toasted? Since it's already a dark brown, I can't tell by the color when it's done. Does the star anise need to be finely ground, and is it best to use an electric grinder or will a mortar and pestle do? Thanks so much for all of your recipes - the photos always make me want to give them a try, and when I do I consistently have great success.

  2. We toasted the star anise for about 3-5 minutes, or until we could smell its fragrance coming from the toaster oven. In terms of grounding this spice into a fine powder, our meat tenderizer/hammer actually did the trick :) But yes, mortar and pestle should work!

    Glad you are enjoying the pictures -- right now, we're just using a point and shoot...but we hope to jump on the SLR band wagon soon!


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