Grilled Five-Spice Chicken

  • Active Time 50m
  • Total Time 2h 50m

Serves 4

A popular ready-mixed spice blend, five-spice powder is a combination of star anise, fennel, cassia, Sichuan peppercorns and cloves. In this easy Vietnamese recipe, the aromatic powder flavors barbecued chicken. Accompany with steamed rice.


  • 2 small chickens, about 2 pounds each
  • For Marinade:
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 1 inch long, peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry

  • Fish sauce and lime dipping sauce

Companion recipe: Fish Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce Steamed Rice


Cut each chicken in half through the breast and backbone. Using your palms, press down on the breasts to flatten the halves slightly.

FOR MARINADE: Combine the ginger, garlic, shallots, brown sugar and salt in a mortar, blender or mini food processor. Mash with a pestle or process to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Add the pepper, five-spice powder, fish sauce, soy sauce and sherry, and stir to mix well. Add the chicken halves and turn to coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or as long as overnight.

Prepare the dipping sauce; set aside.

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. When the coals are ash white, place the chicken halves, bone side down, on the grill rack about 4 inches above the coals, and grill for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue to grill until thoroughly cooked and golden brown with nice grill marks, about 20 minutes longer.

Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2133

nutrition information per serving

489 calories; 10g total fat; 245mg cholesterol; 2311mg sodium; 19g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 76g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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