3 whole star anise
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry)
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
4 chicken legs, skin on
3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
6 slices fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and ground
½ cup chicken stock
Whisk together star anise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and rice wine in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
Place a large wok over high heat. When it starts to smoke, pour in oil. Swirl oil around, and then add chicken legs skin side down. Adjust heat to medium-high and cook undisturbed until they are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken legs, and add garlic and ginger. Continue cooking until the other side is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce mixture, and chicken stock. Toss chicken pieces with sauce. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then cover the work, reduce heat to low, and cook until juices run clear in the legs, about 10 minutes. Remove legs and set aside on a plate.
Turn heat to medium-high, and reduce sauce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, stirring often. Serve chicken legs with sauce. Pair with white rice or broccoli.
Nick Kindlesperger, Serious Eats