Beggars’ Chicken

My mum passed down this recipe and it’s now a true family favourite in my household. Gorgeously tender chicken, braised in a rich, spiced soy sauce broth… delicious! Serve it with steamed rice or noodles to really make the most of all that yummy sauce.


Beggars’ Chicken

10 minutes
1 hour 45 minutes

3 coriander roots

8 small garlic cloves (about 4 large cloves)

1 tsp whole white peppercorns

¼ tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 whole chicken

½ cup sweet dark soy sauce

4 tbsp light soy sauce

3 whole star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp sugar

coriander (cilantro) leaves to serve

steamed rice or cooked vermicelli rice noodles to serve

  • Step 1

    Use a mortar and pestle to pound coriander roots, garlic, peppercorns and salt to a rough paste (you could also do this in a food processor).

  • Step 2

    Heat oil in a pot just large enough to hold the chicken.  Add the paste and cook for a few seconds. Then add the whole chicken breast side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until just golden. Then add the dark sweet soy sauce, light soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon sticks and sugar.  Pour in enough water to almost cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.

  • Step 3

    Carefully remove chicken and place into a deep serving dish.  To the broth, add salt to taste. Pour the broth over chicken and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice or noodles.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Very good25%

Easy recipe with amazing results!

April 22, 2024

I love this recipe. I’ve made it many times for guests and people really love it. I use some of the liquid around the chicken to cook the rice. So good!

Avatar for Alice B
Alice B

Not like the photo

April 18, 2024

I followed the recipe to the letter. The chicken never browned like that. I had to watch too carefully that the herbs and spices didn’t burn. If I were to do it again, I’d brown the chicken first, then sauté the herbs and spices. You need to use so much water to cover the chicken, the sauce was really weak.I ended up reducing it down. Though tasty, I’m glad I didn’t make for guests.

Avatar for Chris S
Chris S


January 11, 2023

Absolutely delicious! Found everything I needed at an Asian market except cilantro with the root, so I used several cilantro stems without the root. If you dont like cilantro, don’t worry because it isn’t tasted at the end. It’s so easy to make, yet the flavor is so amazing that people would think you spent 2 days making it. Definitely won’t disappoint even the most picky eaters. I read the recipe to some people who were immediately turned off and saying no no no just because they weren’t used to using the ingredients in their cooking … they absolutely loved it, and a few made it at their homes for their families.

Avatar for EJ

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