Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken Recipe

Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken Recipe

A wonderfully simple and healthy way to enjoy chicken that will also fill your kitchen with exotic aromas, this spice-braised chicken is a real crowd pleaser. It gets better with time, so it’s worthwhile preparing it in advance or making a big batch to ensure leftovers. (Use two small chickens or one hen and a package of chicken pieces and double all the other ingredients.) To serve for dinner, accompany with steamed or sautéed snow peas and rice. This recipe also works very well with chicken wings as party food.–Laura Washburn

LC Just Wing It Note

We don’t know about you, but when a recipe calls for generic “chicken parts,” we tend to assume breasts or thighs or drumsticks. But as Washburn suggests, why not wings? (And not just wings, but how about those meaty little drummettes?!) To make wings (or other parts) for a crowd, opt for a large roasting pan, cover the wings and sauce with foil, and roast at 350°F (176°C) for about 30 minutes. Uncover and roast until the meat is cooked through and the skin is slightly crisp and the sauce has reduced, about 15 minutes or so. Then pass the napkins.

Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)

Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (whatever kind you please) or 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
  • Sea salt
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine (in a pinch you could use dry sherry or sake)
  • 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock, low-sodium canned chicken broth, or water
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup light or low-sodium soy sauce (trust us you really want to use low-sodium soy sauce here)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh clementine or orange juice, if desired
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

Directions

  • 1. To make the Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Star Anise and Ginger Braised Chicken on your stovetop, heat the oil in a large saucepan. If desired, remove the skin from the chicken. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, being careful not to crowd the pieces. (You may need to work in batches.) Cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and season lightly with salt.
  • 2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan. Add the ginger, garlic, rice wine, stock or water, honey, star anise, and soy sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the clementine juice and the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Then turn the chicken pieces and continue to simmer gently until cooked through, about 5 minutes more, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • 3. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Take a sip of the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Return the liquid to a simmer and reduce slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. (Be mindful that reducing it too much could cause the sauce to seem quite salty.) Remove and discard the star anise. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat it in the sauce. Sprinkle with the scallions.

Slow Cooker Variation

  • We invariably rely on skinless chicken for the slow-cooker rendition of this ginger-infused recipe—after all, nobody likes flabby chicken skin, do they? Place the chicken in the slow cooker and combine the remaining ingredients, except for the scallions, in a bowl or a large measuring cup and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer the chicken to a platter. If a thicker sauce is desired, slowly stir a little cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the stock pot, place it on high and let it simmer until thickened to the desired consistency (to make a cornstarch slurry, we tend to use 1 tablespoon cornstarch stirred into 1/4 cup cold water). Return the chicken to the sauce just until warmed through, then transfer the whole shebang back to the platter and sprinkle with the scallions.

    [Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try this. Easy breezy!
    Love the simple ingredients that everyone will have on hand, very nice ;)

  2. Ling Teo says:

    Add a teaspoon of roasted sesame oil to the braising liquid for another flavour dimension! When my mum makes this for us (it’s a very homestyle Chinese dish), it’s always chicken wings… yum.

  3. Foodelf says:

    I have everything but the rice wine – could I use Mirin, Dry Vermouth or White Wine?

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Any of the above, Foodelf! Mirin would be the bottle that I reach for, though, as it has a sort of floral sweetness that I think will meld nicely here. White wine will be fine, if a little benign, perhaps even a little wan. Vermouth will contribute a sharper edge. But all will work.

      • Foodelf says:

        This was absolutely terrific and SO EASY! I used mirin instead of the rice wine and it worked beautifully. This will make a regular appearance at my dinner table.

        I made it with drumsticks and thighs, but I’m looking forward to trying it with wings!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

          Lovely to hear, Foodelf. And yes, the wings are terrific for a crowd…or, ahem, one.

  4. Zanne says:

    I only have ground star anise – what would I do with that instead of the actual piece of star anise?

    This is very similar to a dish my asian friends taught me in San Francisco. Yum!

    Thanks

    • David Leite says:

      Zanne, because the star anise steeps in the dish, and the longer it cooks, the stronger the flavor, I would try 1/2 teaspoon of the ground anise. Taste it halfway through the cooking. If it’s too light, add a bit more.

      • zanne says:

        Thanks David. I usually have star anise, but none in the cupboard right now and I’m living in the middle of nowhere – star anise is exotic here :o}

        • David Leite says:

          Zanne, have you tried Penzy’s? They ship all over and they have whole star anise, as well as ground and in pieces.

          • Zanne says:

            I order from Penzeys and also My Spice Sage, but I just got an order and can’t afford to keep buying extras. I’ll wait till I go to a shopping area next month to stock up again at the health food store and the Asian market. I’m cooking for myself (and friends) so buying a lot of different spices is not always practical since they go stale before I use most of each.

            I was spoiled from living in San Francisco, just a walk to Chinatown and I could get whatever was needed.

            • David Leite says:

              Have you tried tsp Spices? They sell spices in smaller sizes. Much more practical when buying exotic items. (Their site is a bit wonky right now, but check it out.)

  5. Zanne says:

    Just made a double batch of this recipe. Terrific. I used chicken wings, sherry instead of Chinese rice wine, and added the sesame oil as suggested in another comment. I made the whole thing in a big wok. Next time I’ll try the oven method (when the weather cools off a bit). I did not salt the chicken at all and I used “San J” GF Tamari (NOT low-sodium). Worked fine and wasn’t too salty at all. This was great warm, served with steamed rice–also good cold, as a snack. I think I’ll make it with thighs next time – wings are a lot of work for very little meat :-} If I don’t oink and eat the whole batch, I’ll freeze some. It’s a keeper!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Terrific, Zanne! Greatly appreciate the play-by-play, very helpful to hear your experience. I do love this type of thing, I make a double batch, too, and shred the rest and save it for summer rolls…

  6. pluvk says:

    This looks very delicious! I’m always looking to incorporate healthier recipes in our household, especially those with an Asian/Pacific Rim flair.

  7. Katie says:

    This is a staple in our house. It comes together so quickly and my kids love it too. Last night I added peeled hard-boiled eggs with the chicken in step 2, and I’d do it again!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Katie, we can completely understand how this has become a staple for you, as you’re not alone in that. Thanks for letting us know. We’re looking forward to hearing about other recipes that become repeat requests at your home!

  8. Mrs E says:

    WOW! DELICIOUS! This recipe is so easy to make! I love how quickly this came together. I used little drummettes. Next time I will use boneless skinless chicken, maybe thighs. I would imagine if I cubed up boneless skinless thighs, it would be the makings of a great chicken and rice bowl. I did not have Chinese rice wine so I substituted sherry and it tasted fine. I also added more about 1/3 cup OJ and skipped the stock/water. The end result did not have a lot of sauce at the end but it was delicious and the flavor really got into the chicken. I’m saving this one for a busy week night dinner! Teenager and husband approved!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Woohoo, Mrs E! Was actually just thinking about you last week, wondering what you’ve been cooking and baking lately. And here you are. Love your suggestion for a rice bowl—perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, a way to stretch leftovers, or an easy take-to-school or take-to-work lunch. Okay, so what recipe is next?

  9. Kat says:

    This recipe is wonderful! I made it tonight for Sunday dinner and it was incredible. It definitely will be on the rotation in my house!

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