Celebration Chinese Chicken

I LOVE Chinese food. As long as it’s well made, I could honestly never eat anything else – so it stands to reason that I should learn about the flavours.

This tasty chicken dish is designed as a centrepiece for those times when you really want to make a statement, but you don’t want a massive meal. Serve it with rice and seasonal greens – broccolini and bok choy are sure-fire hits!

Chinese Celebration Chicken

Ready in 50 mins (excl. marinading). Serves 4.


  • 1 whole free range chicken, butterflied down the spine (ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 red chilli, sliced diagonally
  • 1 spring onion, finely julienned and placed in ice water

For the marinade:

  • 1½ cups Chelsea Honey Maple Flavoured Syrup
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon five spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons rice cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

To serve:

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 whole spring onions, quartered lengthwise (do not remove roots)


Mix marinade ingredients together in a bowl and stir well. Pour into a flat dish and marinade chicken, skin-side down, for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°.

Transfer chicken to a roasting dish lined with baking paper. Reserve marinade. Cook, covered with tin foil, for 20-25 minutes. Remove tin foil, using a little to wrap the ends of the wings or any other sections that look brown. Continue cooking chicken, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and rest, covered, for 10 minutes. (Check chicken is cooked through by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the breast – liquid should come out clear.)

Meanwhile, heat remaining marinade (including star anise) until boiling, Taking care it doesn’t boil over, reduce marinade until it’s sticky and dark.

Pour a little oil into a griddle pan. Sear spring onions, pressing to get a good char. Turn until all sides are charred.

To serve, pour a little of the marinade over the chicken and transfer the remainder into a jug or bowl. Decorate chicken with toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion and chilli and serve with rice sprinkled with black sesame seeds and charred onions.