Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

It's Mother's Day this upcoming Sunday and it will actually be a little weird since both my parents and my sister are leaving on their European tour while I am left behind in Jersey to catsit. Hmmm....something's very wrong with this picture.

Either way, I always like to do a little something Chinese and traditional for my mother since she has never been very adventurous with her eating (chicken hearts, pork intestines and brains don't count as we grow up eating this stuff!).  This chicken in black bean sauce would be something very similar to what we would have at home for our family dinner as it is quick and inexpensive.
I love using black bean sauce as it has a very distinct smell and taste.  Do not be tricked into thinking it is anything like the canned black beans you buy at your local grocery store!  It is created by a two-part process, fermenting and salting black soybeans. The process turns the beans black, soft, and mostly dry. The smell is sharp and extremely pungent, with a taste that is salty and somewhat bitter and sweet. It definitely gives that umami taste you are looking for if you want to create a traditional Chinese dish. 

My chicken in black bean sauce is a super simple, easy, and tasty stirfry that you can use any leftover chicken or vegetables you might have.  This would also be great with pork or silken tofu. If my mother had made it, she would have definitely used pork. But since I rarely cook with pork, it was hands down chicken!

Sometimes there is nothing better on Mother's Day except to cook something simple for her that tells her you were paying attention to what she was cooking for you. 

Happy mother's day, mom!!  Hope all of you mothers and mother-to-bes have a wonderful day!

Serves 4

1 tbsp canola oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1/4 lb green beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup mixed bell peppers
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1 1/2 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch
2 tbsp cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of Sesame oil
2 tbsp green scallions, sliced

1.  In a medium wok or deep pan over medium-high heat, add oil.  Once hot, add chicken and stir fry until outside is no longer pink, approximately 5 minutes.

2.  Add green beans, garlic, peppers and chile. Stir fry together for a few minutes. Add black bean, soy sauce, corn starch and water. Mix together and bring it to a boil so that it allows the liquid to thicken a bit.  You don't want it to have a very thick consistency, but it should definitely not be watery.
3.  Finish with sesame oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Make sure to taste before adding salt as the black bean and soy sauce are salty already. It might not be necessary.

4.  Serve in a large curved plate and garnish with scallions.  This should be eaten with white/brown rice.  I topped mine with a sprinkle of black sesames seeds for a more dramatic touch.


  1. Love that last photo! I need to try cooking with black bean sauce, have never used it before.

    1. It is so good especially with pan fried tofu or your favorite seitan!