Earthy Delights Recipe

Five-Spice Grilled Cornish Game Hens

Five-Spice Grilled Cornish Game Hens
A savory-spicy marinade is the secret to intensely flavorful and juicy grilled Cornish Game Hens. The fragrant marinade is spiked with a generous dash of Five-Spice Powder, a popular Asian spice blend which includes Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves and star anise.

Try this dish served up with the amazingly delicious dipping sauce known as “nuoc cham” in Vietnamese. One of the key ingredients is the pungent condiment commonly called fish sauce. Don't be put off by the intense aroma - this stuff is addictively delicious! One taste, and you'll be hooked.

2 Cornish Game hens, about 1 to 1-1/4 lb each
4 cloves garlic
3 green onions, white part only, or 2 shallots
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Five-Spice Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry

Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (see recipe here)



Cut each game hen along the backbone with a pair of kitchen shears or heavy knife. Spread the hen flat on a cutting board and place your palm on the breast bone, pressing firmly to flatten it.


Put the garlic, onions, sugar and salt in a food processor and process to a coarse puree. Combine with the the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Rub the mixture all over the hens inside and out and place into a large zip lock bag, , along with any remaining marinade, to marinate for 1 - 3 hours, turning occasionally.


Prepare a charcoal or gas grill, or preheat the oven broiler. Lift the hens from the marinade and scrape off the excess. Grill or broil the game hens for about 10 minutes. Turn the hens and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the skin is lightly charred. Pierce the leg/thigh joint with a thin knife - if the juices run clear, the hens are done.


Serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce.