Five-spice chicken

Give chicken pieces a lightning-fast flavour boost with the magic of aromatic Chinese five-spice powder.


A lightning-fast flavour treatment for chicken pieces built around the aromatic magic of Chinese five-spice powder. The five spices are fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and black pepper (or, sometimes, the mouth-numbing Sichuan pepper).

You don’t need to marinate this at all if you are truly pushed for time, although even half an hour will let the flavours infuse the chicken. Ideally, put it together the night before – it’s a couple of minutes’ easy work – and let it sit in the fridge for great results.

Roasting the chicken on a bed of thickly sliced onions provides one accompaniment. I usually serve this with a green salad or pile some Asian greens with soy alongside for taste, speed and thematic accordance.

Five-spice chicken


For 2.

4 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or other neutral-flavoured oil)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 brown onions

In a small bowl, mix the five-spice powder, garlic and salt with just enough oil to form a brushable paste. Brush this over the chicken pieces on all sides. If you have time, put the chicken in a covered bowl and let it marinate somewhere cool or overnight in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, set your oven to 220°C (425°F).

Peel the onions and cut into thick slices. Arrange them on a baking sheet or shallow roasting tin and top with the chicken pieces, skin up. Roast for 40–45 minutes, until cooked through and the skin has crisped up. Let it rest under a loose foil tent for 10 minutes and serve.