Five-spice Saucy Chicken Stir Fry

I love saucy stir fries but don’t get me wrong, a dry stir fry is great too. It is, though, really comforting to have a steaming saucy stir-fry dish with plain steamed rice, especially on a cold day. This dish works well because it’s not very heavy and all the ingredients fuse well in the dish allowing you to savor hints of the hot and spicy garlic, ginger, star anise (from the five spice), pepper, soy and the sweetness of the honey. The vegetables at the end add delightful crunch and texture. The chicken is also very ‘happening’ – it is first marinated then covered in cornstarch which gives it a spongy texture once cooked. How can a dish so simple taste so irresistible?

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 12 oz skinless chicken breast, sliced then cut into even-sized chunks
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt and ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried red chilies
  • 1 cup fresh chicken stock
  • 1 small carrot, sliced lengthways into strips
  • 7 oz pak choy, washed, leaves separated but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shaosing rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped


  1. Place the chicken in a bowl and season with oyster sauce, salt, ground white pepper and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. Throw in the garlic and ginger and stir fry for less than 1 minute. Add the chicken breast and stir fry for about 3–4 minutes until golden brown. Season with the crushed dried chilies.
  3. Add the chicken stock, carrot, pak choy and season with dark soy, shaosing rice wine, and five-spice powder and bring to the boil. Add the blended cornstarch and stir well.
  4. Sprinkle over the spring onions and serve with Jasmine Rice.