crispy salt and pepper chicken

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5cm piece (25g) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 
  • 3 star anise 
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns 
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder 
  • 1 long red chilli, chopped 
  • 1 cup (250ml) Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) 
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) dark soy sauce 
  • ½ cup (125ml) oyster sauce 
  • 2 litres water 
  • peel of 1 orange 
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro), roots only 
  • 6 x 200g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed 
  • rice flour, for dusting 
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying 

salt and pepper mixture

  • ½ cup (60g) sea salt flakes 
  • 2 star anise 
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder 
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes


  1. To make the salt and pepper mixture, place the salt, star anise, cinnamon, five-spice and chilli flakes in a medium frying pan over high heat and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the mixture is fragrant. Set aside and allow to cool. Place the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1–2 minutes or until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, five-spice, chilli, rice wine, soy, oyster sauce and water in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the orange peel to the stock with the coriander roots. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25–30 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken to the stock and cook for 4–5 minutes or until just cooked through. Allow to cool. Thinly slice and set aside. 
  4. Dust the cooled chicken in the rice flour, shaking to remove excess. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat until hot. Cook the chicken, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until crisp and golden. 
  5. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper mixture to serve. Serves 6.

This recipe was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show

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