This Chinese-style dish requires very little in the way of pre-preparation – just chuck everything in the slow cooker and you’re good to go. If you haven’t come across kuzu before, it’s a gluten-free thickener made from plant roots and can be used in exactly the same way as cornflour. In addition to its excellent thickening properties, kuzu is said to be good for calming the digestive system as well as treating headaches and the common cold.
Slow cooker setting Low Total time 6 hours, plus 1 hour on high
Slow cooker setting High Total time 4½ hours
2.5cm piece root ginger, grated
3 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
1 tbsp raw honey
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1½ tsp chilli sauce
700g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-sized chunks
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1½ tbsp kuzu or cornflour
200g long-stem broccoli
cracked black pepper
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, chopped coriander, lime wedges and brown rice, to serve
Mix together the ginger, soy sauce, honey, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar or cider vinegar, Chinese five spice and chilli sauce in the slow cooker pot. Stir in the chicken until evenly coated in the mixture.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3 hours. Scoop out the chicken with a slotted spoon onto a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm while you thicken the sauce. Stir the kuzu or cornflour into a little water and add to the pot. Turn the slow cooker to high if cooking on low, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring until the sauce has thickened.
Return the chicken to the pot with the white part of the spring onions, stir until coated in the sauce. Cover and cook on high for another 1 hour, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is rich and sticky.
Just before the chicken is ready, steam the broccoli and divide it between serving plates then top with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over and sprinkle with sesame seeds, the green parts of the spring onions and the coriander. Serve with lime wedges and rice by the side.
Extracted from Superfood Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes and Cathy Seward (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €17). Photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small.