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Six-Spice Chicken

Posted Feb 21 2009 11:40pm

img_15561

We eat mostly chicken, fish, and tofu at home, so I have to constantly think of new ways to make our proteins exciting.  The best (and healthiest) way to do that is by adding flavor from spices and herbs, rather than adding more fat through heavy creams and butter.  Asian spices are something that I think add great flavor to a meal and make it totally different from your usual fare.

Here, I use a blend of turmeric and Chinese five-spice (hence, my six-spice chicken!  Ok, I can just see y’all rolling your eyes).  Turmeric is very fragrant - it’s a powdery bright-yellow spice that’s used in curry powders and comes from a ginger-like plant, Curcuma longa.  If you look closely, you’ll see turmeric listed as an ingredient for many foods - it’s used as a color additive, like for yellow mustard.  As for health benefits, it’s been researched that turmeric may have potential in cancer prevention and as an anti-inflammatory in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Chinese five-spice (ngu vi huong in Vietnamese) is a blend of Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, coriander, and cloves.  It’s great in barbequed chicken, as well as Vietnamese bo kho (beef stew).  Be careful with using too much of this spice as it can be overpowering to a dish and it will be hard to balance flavors after it’s in - I had a slip of the hand once and threw in a good heaping tablespoon in a dish I made a few years ago for my husband (then-boyfriend).  Needless to say, it wasn’t the best dinner we had :).  But don’t worry - this dish is savory and balanced in tastebud-awakening flavors, and best of all, takes barely any cooking skills to master.

Six-Spice Chicken

Serves 4-6

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp gingerroot, minced

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3/4 tsp Chinese five-spice

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

A pinch of sea salt

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed off, and chicken cut into 1-inch slices

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup green onions/scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, turmeric, five-spice, red pepper flakes, and sea salt.  Add the chicken pieces and stir until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Let the chicken mixture marinate for about 10 minutes.

2.  After the chicken has marinated, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan (about a 12-inch pan should be good) over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken with the marinade.  Cook the chicken, stirring until all sides are cooked through, about 15 minutes or until done.  Add the green onions in the last few minutes, stirring into the chicken until slightly wilted.  Serve.

img_15561

We eat mostly chicken, fish, and tofu at home, so I have to constantly think of new ways to make our proteins exciting.  The best (and healthiest) way to do that is by adding flavor from spices and herbs, rather than adding more fat through heavy creams and butter.  Asian spices are something that I think add great flavor to a meal and make it totally different from your usual fare.

Here, I use a blend of turmeric and Chinese five-spice (hence, my six-spice chicken!  Ok, I can just see y’all rolling your eyes).  Turmeric is very fragrant - it’s a powdery bright-yellow spice that’s used in curry powders and comes from a ginger-like plant, Curcuma longa.  If you look closely, you’ll see turmeric listed as an ingredient for many foods - it’s used as a color additive, like for yellow mustard.  As for health benefits, it’s been researched that turmeric may have potential in cancer prevention and as an anti-inflammatory in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Chinese five-spice (ngu vi huong in Vietnamese) is a blend of Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, coriander, and cloves.  It’s great in barbequed chicken, as well as Vietnamese bo kho (beef stew).  Be careful with using too much of this spice as it can be overpowering to a dish and it will be hard to balance flavors after it’s in - I had a slip of the hand once and threw in a good heaping tablespoon in a dish I made a few years ago for my husband (then-boyfriend).  Needless to say, it wasn’t the best dinner we had :).  But don’t worry - this dish is savory and balanced in tastebud-awakening flavors, and best of all, takes barely any cooking skills to master.

Six-Spice Chicken

Serves 4-6

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp gingerroot, minced

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3/4 tsp Chinese five-spice

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

A pinch of sea salt

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed off, and chicken cut into 1-inch slices

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup green onions/scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, turmeric, five-spice, red pepper flakes, and sea salt.  Add the chicken pieces and stir until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Let the chicken mixture marinate for about 10 minutes.

2.  After the chicken has marinated, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan (about a 12-inch pan should be good) over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken with the marinade.  Cook the chicken, stirring until all sides are cooked through, about 15 minutes or until done.  Add the green onions in the last few minutes, stirring into the chicken until slightly wilted.  Serve.

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