Black bean chicken with spring onions
( SERVES 2 )
I just love visiting food stores where among the baskets of strange green things, glass jars of dried tangerine peel, white tapioca root, sticks of wooden licorice root and dried mushrooms, you will find small shrink-wrapped bags of fermented black beans. These shrivelled little beans are preserved in salt, and they provide an interesting flavour when added to braises and stews. Serve with steamed rice.
- Marinate the chicken pieces in half the soy sauce for 30 minutes. At the same time, soak the black beans in the sherry, also for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken and beans soak, finely chop the onion, remove the seeds from the chillies and finely slice them, then peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Mix together and set aside in a small bowl. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, add half the oil and when it's smoking add the chicken. It will spit and splutter, but cook until golden brown, then tip everything into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining oil. When it is just about smoking, tip in the black beans, onion, chilli and garlic.
- Cook until fragrant - about 2 minutes. Before the garlic burns, pour in the chicken stock, the remaining soy sauce, the oyster sauce and the sugar.
- Return the chicken (and not the oil) to the pan and cook over a high heat to reduce the sauce until thick. Serve in deep bowls with finely sliced spring onion.