Stir-Fry Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce | Pinky's Pantry
This is one of the easiest chicken dishes you can make. My local grocery stocks jars of black bean garlic sauce, but you can also find it in Asian food stores. Black bean sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. It’s made from fermented black soy beans and is really delicious, though extremely salty so use it sparingly. A little does go a long way with black bean sauce. It’s best to start with a tablespoon at a time, tasting and adding a little more at the end if you need to.

STIR-FRY CHICKEN IN BLACK BEAN SAUCE

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in cubes
  • ½ small onion, cut into a half-inch dice
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into a half-inch dice
  • 3 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce, or to taste
  1. Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
  2. Add chicken and 1 tablespoon black bean sauce and stir fry until chicken is half cooked.
  3. Add onions and 1 more tablespoon black bean sauce, continuing to stir fry for another minute.
  4. Finally add bell pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon black bean sauce, and stir fry until bell pepper is crisp-tender.
  5. Taste for seasoning, and stir in a little more black bean sauce if desired.
  6. Serve with hot white rice.
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Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Beef and Broccoli | Pinky's PantryBeef and Broccoli is a Chinese-American creation. I don’t actually know if they serve this dish in China, but you can certainly find it in every Chinese restaurant in America. It’s one of the more popular dishes. My kids absolutely love it. We never go to a Chinese restaurant without getting at least one order of Beef and Broccoli.

I took a Chinese cooking class many years ago before I was even married. This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe we learned in class. I’ve tweaked it over the years and made some changes to the original (no offense to my cooking teacher). I still don’t think it tastes quite like what you get in a Chinese restaurant, but it’s yummy and hits the spot when you can’t get down the hill to Debbie Wong’s.
Beef and Broccoli | Pinky's Pantry

BEEF AND BROCCOLI STIR FRY

  • 1 lb. beef, like flank steak, boneless ribs, top sirloin, or tri-tip
  • 1½ lbs. broccoli florets
  • ⅓ cup oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup rice wine
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Slice beef into strips.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and cornstarch.
  3. Place sliced beef into marinade and allow to marinate for 15 minutes to an hour.
  4. Heat a little oil in a wok and stir fry garlic quickly.
  5. Add broccoli and stir fry until broccoli turns bright green.
  6. Remove from pan and set aside.
  7. Add a little more oil to wok.
  8. When hot, remove beef from marinade, put into wok, and stir fry until just cooked.
  9. Add broccoli back into wok and toss with beef to combine.
  10. Serve with cooked white rice.

NOTE:  If you want a little sauce, pour some of the marinade into the wok together with the beef and cook together. If sauce is too watery, you can thicken it with cornstarch.

Isot Pepper Pork & Cucumber Stir Fry

Isot Pepper Pork Stir Fry | Pinky's Pantry
I was blog-hopping one day when I came upon a recipe for a Pork Cucumber Stir Fry. I was instantly intrigued. Really? Cucumber? I’d never heard of stir-frying cucumber before. I read the post and was even more intrigued. The author talked about something else I’d never heard of called “isot pepper.” Curioser and curioser. She described it as being “imported from Turkey… only a little hot, and with a mahogany color and a mellow, fruity, slightly smoky taste.” Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Thus began the great search for isot pepper. I scoured our local grocery stores, hunted through Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Nugget Market, foraged around the little food shelves at Ross, Marshalls, and Home Goods, and even checked our local health food stores. All to no avail. So I gave up the dwindling hope of physically purchasing it and instead turned to mail order. Voila! Success at last! Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? I should have started here from the get-go, but was really hoping to find it and bring it home on the same day. Anyway, I found it for a fairly reasonable price at The Spice House where it’s sold under its alternate name “urfa biber.” Is that Turkish? And as luck would have it, they were having a “free shipping” sale! The hardest part of the whole online ordering process was having to wait so many days for my pepper to arrive!

But it was worth it. The isot pepper, a reddish-black crushed pepper with a rich, raisin-like flavor and a little kick of heat to it, was delicious! The 2 teaspoons stirred into the dish were plenty hot enough for me, but Old Goat (who loves super spicy food) sprinkled lots more over his plate. And the cucumber was quite the surprise. It retained its crunch through the quick stir fry and meshed with the flavor of the sauce beautifully. This recipe comes together very quickly once you get all your veggies prepped and is wonderful served over hot, white rice.

ISOT PEPPER PORK & CUCUMBER STIR FRY
(Makes 4 servings)

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • lemongrass stalk, tender part only, smashed and finely minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into rounds
  • 3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. isot pepper

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. In a bowl, mix the pork, soy sauce and cornstarch together with your hands.
  2. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, add pork and stir fry until cooked. If you want, you can heat a little canola oil in the wok first before adding the pork. I don’t bother because the pork renders its own fat. At first it will seem like it’s sticking to the pan, but just keep stirring and as it cooks, it will loosen and release.
  3. Once pork is thoroughly cooked, transfer to a bowl and wipe the wok clean.
  4. Put canola and sesame oil in wok and heat over medium flame.
  5. When hot, add garlic, ginger, and lemon grass, and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add bell pepper and stir fry for another minute.
  7. Add cucumber and stir fry for one minute more.
  8. Add pork and green onions, and stir fry all together for another half minute.
  9. Give the sauce ingredients a quick stir and pour into the wok.
  10. Stir all together — the cornstarch will cook very quickly and there will be just enough sauce to coat everything lightly.
  11. Remove from heat and stir in isot pepper.
  12. Serve over cooked white rice.

NOTE:  When you plate this, scatter more isot pepper over everything with a generous hand before serving. Alternatively, you could serve this as is and pass a small bowl of isot pepper around for guests to sprinkle on themselves.

[Adapted from Blue Kitchen]