Warming, toasted star anise and allspice add color and intense flavor to simple boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this easy preparation, enhanced with a flavorful minced sauce of garlic, ginger and scallions. You can prepare the sauce days ahead, if you want. Once it cools, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and it will get better each day that it sits.
Make the ginger-mint sauce: In a medium heat-proof bowl or container, combine the minced scallions, minced garlic, the ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the sugar. Heat 1 cup oil in a small pot until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Pour the hot oil over the scallion mix in the bowl, and stir gently as it bubbles and foams. Once it stops bubbling, stir in the mint and vinegar. Cover and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan, combine the roughly chopped scallion and chicken breasts and tenders, then pour in enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 160 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes for the tenders and about 15 minutes for the breasts. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, cover and keep warm; discard the cooking water.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the lettuce and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the greens just wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the lettuce to a serving plate.
Slice the chicken breasts and tenders into thick pieces, then transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the ginger-mint sauce. Serve the chicken with the sautéed lettuce and rice.
Pick out the spices and process them to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Combine the ground spices with the salt, then rub the salt all over the chicken breast pieces and tenders. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 days or up to 5 days.
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