Grilled Five-Spice Chicken
Source: Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table – Mai Pham
Makes 4 servings
1 (2 1/2 pound) whole chicken, preferably free range, rinsed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
4 whole star anise, lightly toasted in a dry pan for 3 minutes,
pounded or ground into a fine powder
1/2 cup Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
Cut the chicken into 6 pieces and make 1 or 2 slashes in each piece for faster cooking. Trim and discard any excess fat. Pat the chicken dry.
In a bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, turmeric, five-spice powder and salt. Stir well to blend. Add the chicken pieces and turn several times to coat them evenly. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Start a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to moderate heat. (You can also use a broiler.) Thirty minutes before cooking, add the freshly toasted star anise powder to the marinated chicken, turning so the meat is coated evenly.
Place the chicken, skin side up, on the grill. Cook 10 minutes, then turn over and grill until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear, another 10 minutes, depending on the thickness. While grilling, move the chicken pieces around so that they cook evenly. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.
Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup
1/2 clove garlic
1 fresh Thai bird chile
1 1/4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/6 cup soy sauce, preferably Chinese style
1 1/4 tablespoons fresh lime juice with pulp
1/8 cup water, or to taste
Place the garlic, chile and sugar in a mortar and pound into a paste. (You can also chop the garlic and chile by hand.) Transfer to a small bowl and add the soy sauce, lime juice and water. Stir until well blended. This sauce will keep up to 3 weeks if stored in the refrigerator in a tight-lidded jar.