Soy star anise braised chicken is ridiculously easy to make and absolutely stunning with its deep mahogany coloured skin. Bathed in a master stock infused with star anise, ginger and garlic which permeates, and deeply flavours the chicken. This is a winner of a recipe!
The beauty of this recipe is that it requires barely any work once the chicken is in the pot along with the master stock. Got to love that!
Light Soy Sauce
Shoaxing wine or Sherry
What is Braising
Braising is a cooking method that helps to transform meats into very tender cuts whilst maintaining flavour and moistness.
Braising requires a liquid or stock to tenderise the meat and generally longer cooking times for tougher cuts of meat. Chicken has no tough muscle to tenderise so the braising time is much shorter.
As a cooking method braising is very forgiving and transforms the chicken and master stock into something incredibly harmonious.
Follow The Steps To Make Soy Star Anise Braised Chicken
Master stock has its origins in Chinese cuisine. Once the stock is prepared it is then used as a poaching, or braising liquid. The defining characteristic of a master stock is the stock is reused time, and time again adding fresh star anise, ginger and garlic to keep it vibrant and a little shoaxing wine to boost the flavour.
After braising the chicken you boil the stock, and cool it quickly to kill any microorganisms in the stock. Refrigerate or freeze the stock until required. If you’re refrigerating the stock for longer than a month you need to boil the stock every few days, or freeze the stock for up to 3 months.
There are stories over the internet about some master stocks kept for over 100 years. Goodness only knows how it was stored pre refrigeration! There is a famous restaurant in Melbourne, Australia called ‘The Flower Drum”, that says its master stock has been alive for the past 20 years. We can only imagine the intense depth of flavour their stock has.
What Goes Into Making a Master Stock
ginger – zesty, biting and hot yet warm and sweet, pungent and spicy, ginger brings a lot to the master stock party
garlic – is a flavour powerhouse that adds a lot of flavour to the stock without overwhelming the stock
star anise – has a distinct sweet, anise flavour that is warm, sweet and spicy
kecap manis – this is an Indonesian sauce that’s sweet, thick and dark molasses-like with palm sugar and soy sauce
shoaxing wine – is a Chinese rice wine that has a dark amber colour with a mildly sweet aroma and a complex deep taste (substitute sweet or dry sherry)
light soy sauce – is made from the first pressing of fermented soy beans. Its flavour is salty with a full-bodied flavour. The soy in this recipe is Chinese light soy which is different from Japanese light soy which has a sweeter, less salty more nuanced flavour than Chinese which is saltier, yet sweet
Dont be tempted to use that bottle of dark, or mushroom soy that’s at the back of the pantry as their flavours are entirely different and won’t work for this recipe
light brown sugar – adds a rich full flavour rather than dark brown sugar which will introduce more bitter treacle notes to the stock
Watch How to Make Soy Star Anise Braised Chicken
How To Serve Soy Star Anise Braised Chicken
We love to serve this chicken with another outstanding recipe for Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage, some steamed bok choy, or broccolini and steamed Jasmine Rice for a really sensational meal finished off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
The pickled red cabbage is really crunchy, with a zingy sweet and sour flavour loaded with thinly sliced fresh ginger and chilli and pickled in a rice wine vinegar and sugar solution. It’s a winner!
We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make this delicious Soy Star Anise Braised Chicken.
This chicken is super easy to make and stunning to serve. Serve it with rice, and some of our amazing CHINESE PICKLED RED CABBAGE WITH GINGER along with some bok choy or broccolini. Winner, winner! This recipe comes from Australian cook Belinda Jeffrey with thanks.
- 1 cup kecap manis
- 1 cup Chinese light soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 star anise
- 2 tablespoons shoaxing wine or sherry
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly bruised
- 4-5 slices fresh ginger
- 1 x 2kg free-range chicken (4 1/2 pound)
- lime wedges to serve - optional
- preheat oven to 180c (390f)
- put everything except the chicken and lime into a pot that holds the chicken snugly (we used an enamelled cast iron pot)
- heat ingredients over high heat stirring to dissolve the sugar
- add the chicken breast side down and return liquid to the boil then cover the pot with a lid and pop into the oven
- cook chicken for 40 minutes then remove from oven and turn the chicken over - see notes below
- cover pot and return to the oven for another 40 minutes
- remove from oven and allow the chicken to cool in the liquid for at least half an hour then carefully lift onto your serving plate
- in a small pot reduce a cup or two of the master stock until it is syrupy to serve alongside the chicken if you like
- serve with lime wedges
- we used a thin rolling pin to lift the chicken up out of the stock and turned the chicken over
- a wooden spoon handle will do the same job