Another quick work day meal, that’s fast and not too expensive to serve. The trick to getting it on the table fast is to prep your veggies and meat ahead. The night before is advised or in the morning if you have some free time. It’s even more economical if you use thigh meat instead of breast though 200 gms of meat serves 2-3 people.
For company, serve this dish restaurant style on a pretty serving plate.
Chicken and Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce – serves 2-3
1 tbsp vegetable oil
~1/2 pound (200 gm) boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs
1 clove garlic, if not using the garlic version of black beans
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce, with or without garlic
1/2 onion, or substitute with 2-3 stalks of green onion, cut 1/4 inch long on the diagonal
2 peppers (red, green or yellow)
2 stalks broccoli, florettes and stems
1 thumb’s length (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped, if black bean sauce doesn’t have any (optional)
salt and ground black pepper, if needed
~1/2 pound (200 gm) large rice noodles
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Thickener for sauce: 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup cold water
Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.
Preparing the vegetables: Cut the broccoli florettes off the stems, about 1 1/2 inches in length and break up into manageable pieces. Peel stems and cut into planks of about the same length and 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.
Core and seed peppers and slice into same thickness as the broccoli stems
Peel onion, if using, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
Preparing the chicken meat: Slice chicken into strips 1/4-1/2 inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches long, as with the veggies.
Cooking the rice noodles: Follow package instructions for cooking time depending on the width of the noodles. (Red package: 5-6 minutes in boiling water). Make sure you break up the noodles well as they soften so that they cook evenly. When tender but still retaining some texture, drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and keep until needed. You may drizzle the sesame oil over the noodles and toss a bit so they don’t stick while standing.
Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan or wok over medium high heat, add the sliced chicken and cook just until no longer pink. Transfer meat to a bowl and reserve. In the same saute pan, add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic and saute until the onions are no longer translucent.
Add the broccoli and 1/4 cup of water, cover with a lid and let steam for 1 1/2-2 minutes until the broccoli is a bright green but still crunchy. Add the pepper strips and toss through, cooking for another minutes or so.
Return the cooked chicken to the pan, along with the black bean paste and soy sauce and stir together.
Stir the cornstarch/water mixture until it’s smooth and pour into the middle of the saute pan. Watch carefully as it bubbles and thickens. Stir the sauce so that it coats the vegetables and meat. If needed add the remaining 1/4 cup of water, or more.
Taste the meat and vegetables adding salt and pepper, if needed. You may also add an additional dash or so of soy sauce.
Stir the cooked noodles into the saute pan or place the noodles on a serving plate and pour the meat and vegetables into the middle.
It’s even pretty if you toss the noodles in with the meat and veggies and let everyone fill a bowl. I like a bit of spicy Sambal Oelek on my portion.