Basically, this is a very similar recipe to the braised pork belly I posted last week using the five-spice powder as a base, and chicken legs and thighs in place of pork belly. Because chicken is less flavorful than pork, in addition to the onion and ginger I also use a paste of garlic, cilantro roots, and peppercorn to add a bit more flavor to the braising liquid. I like to serve the braised chicken with egg noodles and crunchy blanched bok choy. Whereas pork belly is not something you want to make multiple meals of–unless you’re on a quick weight gain regimen for your upcoming Sumo match–you can easily get three or four weeknight dinners out of a big pot of this braised chicken. Just change the carbohydrates and vegetables and you have a new dish every night. I’ve even once pulled apart the meat from a thigh and use it to make a chicken sandwich, a sort of improvised Chicken Bahn Mi.
Five Spice Braised Chicken with Egg Noodles
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 cilantro roots
- 1 teaspoon of white and black pepper
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 3 teaspoon of five-spice powder
- 1/2 a medium onion, diced
- 1 2-inch long knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
- fish sauce
- soy sauce
- 3 pounds of chicken thighs and legs
- (or 1 4-pound chicken, cut into six pieces)
In a mortar, pound garlic, cilantro roots, peppercorns, and a pinch of salt together until fine. You can use a small food processor if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and the garlic paste. Cook the paste, stirring vigorously until fragrant, about a minute. Add the onion and five-spice powder, cook until the onion is translucent and the five-spice fragrant. Add a bit more oil if it’s a bit sticky. Add the chicken pieces and add just enough water to cover the chicken. Add one tablespoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and ginger slices to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked and tender about 30-45 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces from the braising pot and add them to a medium-sized pot. Set the chicken aside. Return the braising pot with the liquid to the stove and reduce, over high heat, until the liquid reduces by half. Check the seasoning, add more fish sauce or soy sauce to taste. Strain the reduced liquid and pour it over the chicken. Reheat the chicken and sauce until heated through and serve.
I love to serve this braised chicken with egg noodles. Cook dried or fresh egg noodles until done, serve with the chicken and plenty of braising liquid. I sometimes quickly cook a bit of bok choy to add some crunch and freshness to the noodle. Add a squeeze of lime and a pinch of chili powder for an extra kick, if you want.