Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken Braised With Black Beans : Cookbook Countdown #8

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here. 

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #8, click here


My selected cookbook for this month, 

I have tried some recipes from this cookbook before, and there are lots more which I have bookmarked to try but somehow that did not happen! So, this is the book which I've selected to use for this month's Cookbook Countdown #8.

I've made this easy and delicious chicken dish, Chicken Braised with Black Beans, for a weeknight dinner. According to the author "This dish is special because the chicken is cooked three times. It is a recipe that takes a bit of work, but as my grandmother said, it is worth the effort, both in the kitchen and at the table".  It does take a bit of work, but it is easy, and like the author says, it is worth the effort!

I've used two whole chicken legs and one whole chicken breast, remove the skin, fats  and cut to bite-sized pieces. I did not have water chestnut powder, so I've used corn flour to coat the chicken pieces. Do not be alarmed by the amount of oil (6 cups!) used to fry the chicken pieces. I've used less than a cup of oil, and I fry the chicken pieces on both sides, turning the pieces over, and did it in three batches. The chicken pieces are only required to be fried about 1 minute until the skin (or meat, as mine are skinless), is no longer red. So it does not take a lot of time. Drain and keep aside.

Fermented black beans are rinsed and mix with some mashed garlic into a paste. The sauce is made up of a mixture of oyster sauce, sugar, salt and dark soy sauce. Heat oil and fry the black bean-paste mixture and add the chicken pieces, mixing them well. Drizzle some chinese cooking wine and stir in the sauce. Transfer chicken to a pot, pour some chicken stock into the pan which you use to stir-fry the chicken pieces, collecting the juices in the pan along with the stock, and pour into the pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken is tender and cooked, adding some stock if it appears dry.
I have used a claypot to simmer the chicken, and have added a little more of the chicken stock for more gravy. 

This is a delicious dish. With simple ingredients, yet very tasty. Thumbs up from the family, We enjoyed eating it for our weeknight dinner with rice, some stir-fry veggies and a bowl of soup.

Chicken Braised with Black Beans
(adapted from "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen", Eileen Yin-Fei Lo)
6 garlic cloves, lightly smashed, peeled and mashed
5 tablespoons fermented black beans, washed several times to remove salt, drained well

Sauce :
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 (3-1/2 pound) chicken washed well with salt, fat and membranes removed, drained and dried thoroughly
3-1/2 to 4 tablespoons water chestnut powder (I use corn flour)
6 cups plus 3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons Chinese white rice wine, or gin (I use Shao Hsing wine)
1 cup chicken stock
sprigs of coriander, for garnish

Make a paste of the mashed garlic and black beans, reserve. Mix sauce, reserve.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, coat with water chestnut powder. Heat wok over high heat for 1 minute. Add 6 cups peanut oil and heat to 375 degrees F, until oil smokes. Deep-fry the chicken pieces by lowering them into the oil with a Chinese strainer. Fry 1 minute, or until redness is gone from the skin. Remove chicken, drain, reserve. Drain oil from wok, wipe dry with paper towels.
Place remaining 3 tablespoons peanut oil in wok over high heat and when a wisp of white smoke appears, add the garlic-black bean paste. Break up with spatula. When garlic turns light brown, add chicken pieces and mix well. Drizzle white wine into wok from edges, stir and mix well. Stir sauce, pour into wok, mix until chicken is well-coated. Turn off heat.
Transfer chicken to a pot. Pour 3/4 cup chicken stock into wok to help collect juices and sauce, then pour into pot over chicken. Cover pot and cook over low heat until chicken is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick, add a bit more stock, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time.
Turn off heat, remove chicken and sauce from pot and transfer to a heated dish. Garnish with coriander and serve with cooked rice.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #8 hosted by 


  1. So flavoursome and more bowl of rice please!

  2. The chicken look so yummy! I shall try one of this days! ;)

  3. Joyce, this dish looks great! I know I will eat lots of rice with it LOL!

  4. This sounds delicious, Joyce! And the time spent has to be worth it for sure. I love the black beans with the meat, and thanks for the recipe!

  5. Hi Joyce, I can't help but to have double portion of rice with this yummy dish !

  6. Sounds delish, will give it a go sometime.

  7. Looks so delicious! For me this one dish will be enough for dinner, heehee!