Feast from the East
One of the few downsides of living in rural CT is the lack of authentic Asian food. My husband loves greasy, sweet Chinese takeout (which happens to be my least favorite option.) Amid the virus, I’ve been craving it, and I decided to combine the homemade flavors I love with a twist, to satisfy both of our cravings.
My daughter and her best friend Marissa, originally from Shanghai, escaped their respective NYC studios, in search of some country air, and came to hang with us for a few days. When I see Marissa coming through the door, we jump on her to cook for us. Fully anticipating our request, she comes prepared with spice combinations in little zip lock bags and bottles of sauces (available only at Asian grocery stores.)
This time, the star of the show was star anise. The pungent, licorice-like aroma makes it an integral ingredient in Chinese five spice. (a flavorful blend of spices, star anise (not to be confused with aniseed), cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel seeds, though various additions and substitutions are often made.)
Black Pepper Chicken with Star Anise, Ginger and Beer
This recipe is a marinade, then a one-pan quick saute, and stovetop finish. Its fast and delicious pairs well with fried rice or noodles, and leafy greens.
[ I N G R E D I E N T S ]
6 chicken thighs, boneless and lightly pounded
1/2 medium ginger root, thinly sliced
8 pieces of star anise
1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn
2 dried chili peppers, diced
3 tablespoons sesame seed
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup light soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey (optional)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup beer
Salt and pepper, according to taste
1. – In a bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin, beer, salt and pepper, oyster sauce, and half the sesame seeds. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
2. – Heat stovetop to medium heat. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil, and place chicken in the pan skin side down. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
3. – Pour in the remaining marinade mixture and add chicken broth. Add in the star anise, ginger, peppercorn, and dried chili peppers.
4. – Turn the heat to low, cover the chicken, and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. – Open the lid, turn the heat to high, and let the sauce thicken (about 2 minutes.)
6.- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining white sesame seeds and half of the chopped scallions. Serve immediately. Enjoy!