- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 star anise pod, broken into points
- 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed with a knife
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 quartered chickens (3 to 3 1/2 pounds each)
- Whisk the soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce and honey in a bowl; set aside.
Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the star anise and peppercorns; cook, stirring, until toasted, about 10 seconds. Add the cilantro, scallions and garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer over medium heat until slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool, then add the chicken and toss. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
Transfer the chicken to a rack set in a roasting pan (reserve the marinade). Refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, about 3 hours to dry out the skin.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. Pour 1/4 inch of water and the reserved marinade into the roasting pan. Roast the chicken 20 minutes. Baste with the pan juices, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until the skin is glazed and a thermometer inserted into a breast registers 160 degrees F, 20 to 25 more minutes. Transfer the chicken (on the rack) to a board. Pour the pan juices into a skillet; simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Drizzle over the chicken.
Photographs by Con Poulos