This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Oriental Cookbook. Oriental Cookbook. The title seems so quaint. It conjures up Conrad, Shangrila, and Indiana Jones. As Edward Said has pointed out the concept oriental is a creation not a geographic reference. The preferred term now is the regional Asian. I bought the cookbook in the early years of our marriage in the 70s when I was learning to cook. There were a few recipes in it that I went back to again and again: paper-wrapped bundles, ginger chicken with lily buds, stuffed cucumbers (which Andy insisted belongs in a soup not as a main course), and soy-glazed chicken.
Like the Chinese Style Barbecued Spareribs, soy sauce is the key to this recipe. I won’t go into soy sauce again so I’ll just note that like the spareribs, this chicken is best when it has been marinated at least 4 hours or overnight. Over the years, I have refined this recipe to my family’s taste and I’ve made it with whole chicken as well as chicken pieces with equal success. A long time ago, I read somewhere that chicken skin crisps up if baked at 450˚F for 10 minutes then at a reduced temperature of 350˚F to finish off roasting. So I recommend that. America’s Test Kitchen has a video on how to achieve crisp skin chicken but it uses baking powder so I didn’t want to try it as I was afraid it might change the taste of this chicken dish. I did use some of their techniques.
Ingredients for the marinade:
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon garlic and 1 tablespoon onion powder)
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1 star anise, optional
1 four or five pound roasting chicken
Prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, oil, five spice powder, and star anise, if using. I created an air pocket between the chicken skin and breast then I made two cuts alongside the backbone near the top and the center. Then place the chicken in a gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade all over it. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, turning the bag occasionally.
Preheat the oven 450˚F.
Bake the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on a roasting rack set over a roasting plan. The teeny tiny kitchen didn’t have one so I covered a rimmed baking tray with double foil and set the chicken to roast on that. Roast the chicken 10 minutes at 450 then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Continue roasting for a total of 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including the 10 minutes) or until the drumstick moves easily in the socket. This chicken is juicy with a hint of anise. The skin turned out golden brown but not crisp as in crunchy–more experimenting needed.