Rinse the rice in a sieve. Transfer to a small saucepan, one with a lid. Add 500ml water, the star anise and a good pinch of salt. Bring up to the boil, cover with the lid and cook on a low boil for 10 minutes. While the rice boils, peel and finely slice the onion(s).
Peel the carrots and thinly slice – on the diagonal looks pretty. Wash the pepper(s). Cut in half, remove the seeds, then chop into thin strips. Once the rice has boiled for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, keep it covered and leave to steam while you finish the rest of the meal.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, carrot and pepper. Fry on a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching – add a splash of water if it looks like it might. While the veg cooks, peel and finely chop, grate, or crush 1 large or 2 smaller garlic cloves.
Peel the ginger (see cook’s note), then finely grate it. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour, 1 teaspoon of kecap manis, 3 tablespoons of water, the light brown sugar and the rice vinegar. Add the chicken, garlic and ginger to the veg pan. Stir for 1 minute.
Add the tin of pineapple, along with any juices. Refill the pineapple tin half full with water and add that, and then the cornflour mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Once the chicken is cooked through (no pink juices remain), taste and add more kecap manis for saltiness and a little pepper to season, both to your own taste. Fluff up the rice with a fork and remove the star anise (or leave it in to serve, but don’t eat it!). Serve the chicken with the rice.
To peel ginger easily and without wastage, use a sharp-edged teaspoon to scrape off the skin.
Kecap manis is an Indonesian version of soy sauce, a little sweeter in taste and usually more viscous. Kecap is pronounced like ‘ketchup’, if you’re not sure how to say it!
Star anise infuses dishes with a mild aniseed flavour and looks pretty when serving, but make sure you don’t eat it. If aniseed isn’t your thing, leave it out.