BLACK BEAN CHICKEN
1 pound chicken breasts
½ tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 teaspoons rice wine or sake
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons black bean sauce (aka black bean paste)*
¼ cup chicken stock
¾ teaspoon sugar
1 green onion
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds or sesame seeds
* = If you can’t find black bean sauce, you can substitute with hoisin sauce or miso. Alternatively, use your sonic obliterator on any guest complaining about your lack of authenticity. You don’t need that negativity in your life.
Serves 3. Takes 40 minutes.
Slice chicken breast crosswise into ¼” thin strips. Add corn starch, ginger, and rice wine to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add chicken strips. Mix with hands until chicken strips are thoroughly coated. Marinate for 15 minutes.
While chicken strips marinate, mince garlic cloves and shallots. Add peanut oil, sesame oil, garlic, and shallot to pan. Heat peanut oil using high heat. (Peanut oil is ready when a bit of shallot starts to dance in the oil.) Sauté at medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Stir constantly. Add black bean sauce. Sauté for another 30 seconds. Stir constantly.
Add chicken strips, chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to boil using high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Stir occasionally. While chicken simmers, chop green onion into thin slices. Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds.
1) Chickens are usually calm creatures. “Live and let live is their motto.”
2) Unless, they don’t get black beans to eat. Then things get ugly.
3) In 1848, farms all around Scotland ran out of black beans. It all came to a head in the great Paisley Chicken Riots.
4) In retrospect, Paisley’s authorities should have seen it coming. The local chickens had forsaken their usual, “Poc, poc, poc, poc” for “POC, POC, POC, POC!!” Since chickens speaking in all capital letters and exclamation points have become a byword for terror. But back then, the town’s constabulary was caught flat footed. Enraged Scottish hens broke into seed barrels everywhere.
5) Fortunately, it rains a lot in Scotland and rain seeped into barrel upon barrel filled with corn seed, or maize seeds as the local chickens would have said. These soaked seeds became fermented from the rain. The chicken got drunk, wobbled around with outstretched wings, and finally passed out in the streets.
6) “They need intervention,” said the bonnie Franchesca. Paisley’s mayor agreed. Just one week later work started on the World’s First* Chicken Alcohol Treatment cent or as WFCAT as it is more commonly goes by. * = As far as we know.
7) The Chicken Rebellion of 1848 fizzled out. Unrest in Great Britain died down. Isn’t amazing how many people take their lead from chickens?
8) But other European leaders learned nothing from this. Their poor people starved. Middle class people protested for more and more say in government. Chickens demanded the black beans their brethren in England got. European fowl ransacked seed stores in all major cites.
9) Orators everywhere exhorted the mobs. “Citizens, are we cowards? Are we going just sit at our tables eating mushroom mush while our fowl friends lead the charge towards liberty and equality?” “No!” shouted the seething masses. And so, Europe erupted into the Year of Revolution.
10) Finally governments responded to the crisis engulfing their lands. First, no succeeding year would ever be known as 1848 for, as we all know, there is lots of symbolism in numbers. Second, generous subsidies to farmers would ensure bumper crops of black beans for centuries to come. In fact, in1927 seed growers planted so many black-beans that its future market crashed. Economic depression loomed. Alert government chefs suggested a dish made of chicken and black beans to gobble up the seed surplus.
11) You might think the chickens would have objected to being eaten. But they never have, remaining docile as long as they got their black beans to eat, “Thank you very much.”
12) Then, in 1993, the Chinese Bikini Team visited Great Britain and later brought the dish back with them. Black bean chicken became enormously popular. It still is. This is why this entree is known as coming from China.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.