Tuesday, January 25, 2011

dinner date - star anise chicken and noodle salad

This summery dinner was inspired by a couple of new cookbooks - the noodle salad is from Ripe Recipes, and the chicken is from Belinda Jefferey's 100 favourite recipes. The braised star anise chicken is apparently her most requested recipe. It is a similar recipe to a chicken nibble marinade, but the star anise makes the flavour more complex. It was a fairly easy dinner, the chicken takes a while to cook but there's no major prep involved. Perfect for hot weather!

This meal would make great picnic fare too, if you shredded the cooled chicken through the salad for easy eating, or cooked drumsticks or nibbles in the marinade. Reducing some of the marinade at the end to make a sticky glaze to brush over the chicken skin is an optional step but one that is well worth it in my opinion; the finished chicken with its high-gloss skin looks rather impressive, a bit like peking duck. (The photo above didn't exactly capture the chicken's best side...) It would actually be pretty good served Peking duck style, rolled up in pancakes with spring onions and hoisin.

The salad would be delicious with some toasted peanuts or cashews tossed through it, or crispy fried shallots. It would also be a great base for some stirfried chicken, beef or asian style marinated salmon. If you don't have the ingredients below it is an easy one to freestyle - just be sure to include something crunchy like the bean sprouts, or some shredded cabbage.

Belinda Jeffery's Star Anise Braised Chicken

1 c kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 c soy sauce
1 c water
1/3 c brown sugar
2 whole star anise
2 tbsp sherry
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 chucks of ginger (the size of a 20c piece)
1 x 2kg chicken

Preheat oven to 180c. Put all ingredients except the chicken in a large flameproof dish (I used a scanpan wok) and bring to the boil. Place chicken breast side down into the liquid, cover with lid or foil, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over (Belinda suggests using a wooden spoon handle shoved into the chicken...which worked well) and bake a further 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the poaching liquid for at least half an hour. Boil some of the liquid in a small saucepan until it forms a thick syrupy glaze and brush over the chicken. The cooking liquid can be recycled next time - keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freeze.

Rice Noodle Salad - adapted from Ripe Recipes

250g pkt rice noodles, cooked in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, and refreshed in cold water
200g green beans, blanched and refreshed
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets, blanched and refreshed
1 red pepper, cut into fine strips
1 c fresh mung bean sprouts
1 c podded edamame beans (Asian stores often sell frozen packs of these), blanched etc
1 c fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 c fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients and toss with the dressing.


1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds, dry toasted
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.


  1. aaaahhhhhhh Belinda J it looks really good, and its making me hungry !

  2. Yay, made this for dinner tonight. It is awesome!!

  3. This is the third time I've come back for this recipe!


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