Aromatic Poached Chicken

Change out the poaching broth flavours to suit your dish – for French or Italian dishes use bay leaves, thyme and lemon slices instead of these Asian flavours.

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 8-10 mins + cooling
Serves: 6


  • 6 single chicken breasts
  • 8 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 3-4 whole star anise or a pinch of five-spice powder 
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns


  1. Place chicken breasts in a pot that holds them snugly in a single layer. Add all other ingredients and enough cold water to cover the chicken by 5cm (about 2 finger joints). Bring just to a simmer then cover and simmer for 1 minute only.
  2. Remove from heat and leave to cool for about 1½ hours without removing the lid.
  3. Chicken can be poached up to 2 days ahead, cooled and stored in its poaching broth in the fridge until needed, but poached chicken (or any cooked chicken) is more tender if it has not been chilled as chilling will set the flesh.
  4. When ready to use, strain poaching liquid and reserve for later use as stock. Discard the chicken skin and shred the flesh into chunky pieces or slice as preferred.