Five Spice Chicken and What Is a Star Anise

Five Spice Chicken is a dish I learned about through eating numerous times at a restaurant near work, Pho Garden.  Our team likes to caters from there because it comes in easy-to-serve plated portions and their Five Spice Chicken with Steamed Rice is a pretty popular choice.  On a whirl, I decided to Google the recipe and discovered it wasn't too hard.  The speed bump came when I had to search for tumeric and star anise because I had no idea what those ingredients were.  Tumeric is a ground yellow spice that you can actually find at Target and Star Anise looks like this...

Luckily, my mom had both so I did a little shopping in her kitchen and took those supplies home with me.  The rest of the recipe was pretty easy and straight-forward although I blame myself for a minor screw up.  The instructions said to add toasted star anise powder into the chicken which I completely missed so I threw the whole chunk into the mixture then to fix my mistake, I crumbled it up with a spoon and tossed in tiny bits of star anise.  Once we ate it, I realized this was a boo-boo because the bits stuck to the chicken when we grilled it so when you ate chicken, there was a chance you ate a star anise bit.  The taste is overwhelming.  The chicken itself was pretty good although I would reduce the amount of spices added.  The sodium notch was turned way high and it also makes for pretty smelly leftovers when you have to heat it up in the office kitchen!

To accompany the chicken, I found a simple and somewhat-tasty garlic noodle recipe to eat on the side.  I ended up substituting the sherry and rice wine for a teeny bit of Pinot Noir which seemed to work out okay.  Next time, I want a darker outcome like some garlic noodles I've seen and enjoyed in the past.  Overall, good experience and plenty of yummy (and easy) food.

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