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

Semur chicken

Published: January 14, 2022 at 10:01 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 6-8

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.


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

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