A metal pot filled with roast chicken, glass noodles and leafy green vegetables

Semur chicken

  • serves 6-8
  • Easy

Semur is a hearty dish in which a whole chicken is cooked in a thick soy broth with vermicelli noodles – lemongrass, soy and chilli feature in many dishes from the Torres Strait Islands, influenced by the multiculturalism there


This semur chicken recipe is an extract from Mabu Mabu by Nornie Bero (£22, Hardie Grant). For more Torres Strait cuisine, try Nornie’s recipes for namas and wattleseed scones.



  • whole chicken 1.5kg
  • vegetable oil 4 tbsp
  • onion 1, sliced
  • garlic 5 cloves, minced
  • ginger 10cm piece, peeled and finely sliced
  • lemongrass stalks 2, crushed and chopped into 5cm pieces
  • chilli paste 1 tbsp
  • soy sauce 250ml
  • dark beer (preferably Guinness) or vegetable stock 750ml
  • whole black peppercorns 1⁄2 tsp
  • vermicelli noodles 250g
  • spring onions 120g, chopped
  • pak choi or swiss chard 250g, sliced
  • cooked rice to serve


  • Step 1

    Joint the chicken into large, chunky pieces (leave on the bone). Heat the oil in a large pot over a high heat and brown the chicken, turning it with tongs until the pieces are golden all over. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilli paste, and continue to cook for a few minutes until the onion is browned.

  • Step 2

    Add the soy and cook for 10-15 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium, add the beer and peppercorns, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and just falling off the bone. When it is ready, tip the noodles into a heatproof bowl, cover with just-boiled water and let stand until the noodles are transparent. Drain and add to the pot with the chicken and vegetables.

  • Step 3

    Add the spring onions and greens, then cook for 10 minutes. Serve with rice in bowls.

This semur chicken recipe is an extract from Mabu Mabu by Nornie Bero (£22, Hardie Grant). Photographs by Armelle Habib. 

Try our most exciting chicken recipes

Easy Chicken and Rice Pilaf Recipe

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 439
  • Fat 17.3g
  • Saturates 3.5g
  • Carbs 35.9g
  • Sugars 9.6g
  • Fibre 2.4g
  • Protein 28.4g
  • Salt 4.7g