When I thought about the recipes I wanted to do this month, I knew I wanted to take it back to something simple. Simple recipes. Simple ingredients. Dishes that anyone can make in little to no time. Because I think January is about hitting reset on not only your life but also on your diet after a few months of eating in excess. The first recipe I created this month is my five spice chicken recipe. I absolutely love this recipe. It’s so simple, can be completed in less than an hour, and it makes for a quick weeknight dinner.
What is five spice powder?
Five spice powder is something that is associated with Asian cuisine, specifically Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. It is made up of a mixture of 5 spices like its name suggests: star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds. These are the most common spices included in five spice powder but there are variations that include a variety of different spices like anise seeds, ginger root, and nutmeg. I used Simply Organic’s five spice powder which includes cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and white pepper.
- Chicken thighs – I love using bone in, skin on chicken thighs because the bones and skin add so much flavor to the dish. However, you can substitute with any cut of chicken.
- Five spice powder – I used Simple Organic’s five spice powder which included a mixture of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and white pepper.
- Salt – Used to season the chicken.
- Fish sauce – This ingredient adds umami flavor to the recipe. I love to use Viet Huong fish sauce for all my recipes.
- Soy sauce – Like the fish sauce, soy sauce also adds umami flavor to this dish. My favorite brand of soy sauce is Kikkoman soy sauce because their quality is unmatched.
- Rice wine vinegar – Adding a bit of rice wine vinegar adds some acidity which helps to tone down the intense flavors of soy sauce and fish sauce.
- Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar is a slightly healthier alternative to brown sugar. It also is less sweet than regular brown sugar. If you don’t have coconut sugar, use brown sugar as an alternative.
- Brandy (optional) – The only reason I used brandy is because I had some leftover from another recipe I was developing. I also love the flavor it adds to food. This ingredient is optional however.
- Garlic – Minced garlic helps take away the gross flavors of chicken, and it just makes all the other flavors in the dish better.
Making my five spice chicken
I seriously love how quick and easy this recipe is. First, start off by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Then make the marinade for your chicken. Combine salt, five spice powder, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, coconut sugar, brandy, and garlic into a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside. Add the chicken thighs to a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it. Close the bag and shake it a few times to get the chicken coated in marinade. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes. You can also do this overnight.
Once done marinating, sear the chicken on all sides in a large pan over medium high heat. You want a golden brown color on all sides of the chicken. After searing, bake the chicken in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. You can simply stick the pan you used to sear the chicken in the oven. Make sure to use an oven safe pan. Once done, serve the chicken over a bed of rice with sliced cucumbers.
- How to make this recipe gluten free. Soy sauce is made by combining soy and crushed wheat, so it is not gluten free. Use tamari as a substitute to make this recipe gluten free.
- Use a meat thermometer. Every oven is different, so the cooking time for your chicken can vary. To make sure you’re not eating raw chicken, I would highly recommend using a meat thermometer. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- What if I can’t find five spice powder? You can find five spice powder at every major grocery store or on Amazon, but just in case you can’t find it, The Spruce Eats has a great recipe for five spice powder.
How should I eat this five spice chicken?
Since this five spice chicken has such intense flavors, I like to pair it with something more simple and plain. For me, that means rice and some Persian cucumbers. The rice provides a great base for the chicken, and the cucumbers add a freshness to balance out the savory flavors of the chicken. Other things I would pair this chicken with are: quinoa, roasted potatoes, asparagus, sautéed spinach, or broccoli. Essentially any veggie or grain that doesn’t have intense flavors.
Did you make this Five Spice Chicken?
If you made this dish, I would love to see!
Five Spice Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make the marinade. Combine salt, five spice powder, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, coconut sugar, brandy, and garlic into a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
- Add the chicken thighs to Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the top. Shake the bag a few times to coat the chicken in the marinade.
- Let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
- Once done marinating, sear the chicken on all sides in a large pan over medium high heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Bake the chicken in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Serve chicken over a bed of rice with sliced cucumbers.