I recently attended a class at the PC Cooking school given by one of my favourite cookbook authors, Chef Daphna Rabinovitch. The theme was chicken and this five-spice chicken recipe was among the best of the night. Coat chicken pieces with an aromatic rub, roast and top with a sweet glaze. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking ingredients. Use tamari instead of soy sauce. Recipes for homemade five-spice powder and hoisin sauce are below.

Coat chicken pieces with spice rub and marinate for 2-8 hours

Five-spice chicken with sweet hoisin glaze


2 tbsp (30 ml) packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) sweet paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 ml) five-spice powder (see recipe below)

1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seed, crushed

1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard

¼ tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper

3 lb (1.36 k) bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces


¼ cup (60 ml) hoisin sauce (see recipe below)

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

2 tbsp (30 ml) honey

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced fresh ginger

1 tbsp (15 ml) tamari or soy sauce

Five-spice Mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Timut or Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole star anise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cinnamon powder


1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice powder

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned


Five-spice powder

Toast the fennel seeds and Timut or Sichuan peppercorns together in a frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with cloves and star anise.

Grind the mix into a powder using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Stir in the cinnamon.

There will be more mix than needed to make this recipe. Save the extra for later use in an air-tight jar on the spice shelf.


Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.


Stir together hoisin sauce, maple syrup, honey, fresh ginger and soy sauce; set aside.


In small bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, garlic, five-spice power, fennel seeds, mustard, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in baking dish or resealable plastic bag. Coat with spice rub, coating well and evenly. Cover dish with plastic wrap or seal bag and marinate in refrigerated for 2-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Bring chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with half of glaze. Roast in centre of preheated oven, brushing once halfway through with remaining glaze, for 35-45 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Serves 4-6.

From Daphna Rabinovitch