Golden Five Spice Chicken

Image of lucky golden carp and Chinese lanterns

My house is turning into a zoo. It’s Chinese New Year and 2015 is the year of the sheep (or the goat, as they seem to be interchangeable in the Chinese horoscope); I’m cooking chicken and I’m being watched over by a lucky golden carp and one of those beaming cats that waves its paw at you.

My husband was born in the Year of the Tiger and I’m a Rooster. Don’t go there. Maybe we should concentrate on the chicken.

So here’s a quick and easy recipe for what are, essentially, Chinese chicken nuggets. Naturally, children love them. Served with equally speedy stir-fried noodles and maybe some wilted pak choi, you can make a tasty meal in the time it takes for the local takeaway to deliver something gloopy and orange. A dipping sauce is good on the side (see below).

Golden Five Spice Chicken

Image of five spice chicken served with noodles


1 chicken breast per person, cubed

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin or dry sherry

Image of waving Chinese cat1 level tspn Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 tspn runny honey (or soft brown sugar)

1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 large egg, beaten

60g cornflour

Up to 500ml vegetable oil


In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the oil with the soy sauce, mirin, five-spice powder, honey, ginger, spring onions and garlic. Stir in the chicken cubes and marinate for at least one hour.

Stir the beaten egg into the mix in the bowl, put the cornflour on a plate and roll the chicken cubes in the flour.

Heat about three inches of oil in a wok on a moderate heat, add the chicken and deep-fry for 3-4 minutes, then raise the heat to high and fry until golden brown and cooked through (about another minute or two).

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Image of five spice chicken with noodles and dipping sauce

For the egg noodles, cook according to packet instructions then toss with a splash of sesame oil. Stir-fry chopped ginger and garlic for half a minute, add a double handful of sliced mushrooms and cook a minute more, then four or five spring onions, shredded lengthways, plus the noodles. Stir fry until heated through. Pour in a tablespoon each of light soy sauce and oyster sauce, let it sizzle up and serve.

For the dipping sauce, put two crushed garlic cloves, a thumb of ginger peeled and grated and a tablespoon of finely chopped spring onions in a bowl. Add two tablespoons each of dark soy sauce and mirin and stir well.

12 thoughts on “Golden Five Spice Chicken

    • I actually used less than 500ml of oil and kept turning them until they were done. If you make the cubes no more than 1″ square and cook for the times mentioned, you shouldn’t have a problem. 🙂

  1. Made this tonight – excellent! Threw some tenderstem broccoli into the noodles as a nod to healthiness! Really good recipe.

  2. Once again this is dinner at the weekend – my husband adores it and it’s definitely his favourite Mrs Portly recipe!
    The Russian Fish Pie and your Chicken with potato gnocchi are second and third………..

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