Sunday, 3 July 2011

Stir-fried douchi (fermented black beans) chicken wings and peppers

I'm not sure if this is a Cantonese dish, but as far as I know it's mostly made by Cantonese people... :) I used real douchi (fermented black beans) instead of commercial black bean sauce / paste that's easily available (even in the UK) - douchi is the real deal, and no Chinese chef would use bottled seasoning! Having said that, I'm not claiming I'm a great Chinese chef - I'm just someone who likes to experiment with cooking. :)

I think you can get real douchi in some oriental supermarkets, though I got mine from a recent trip to Hong Kong. They look like this:

You need about 2 tablespoons' worth for a regular-sized dish for 2-3 people.

I used chicken wings instead of other parts only because that's what my mum would use - it's always chicken mid wings that are used, and my mum would half the mid wings (yeah, really small pieces) so that in the end there's even more flavour. Here, curiously, they don't sell chicken mid wings. All I could find are these:

Regular chicken wings available in UK supermarkets. No mid wings available. :( And they're not available in all supermarkets! 
What I did with them: cut the tip and discard. Of course, when having a barbecue people usually leave the tip, and some people love the tip, but for this dish the tip isn't great. I've also heard that the tip's where steroids are injected into the chicken - so it's better to avoid eating the tip if you can! There's very little meat there anyway... 
Cut the excess fat (skin). Not all the skin, but the sides - they're too fatty!
What you've got left: drumettes and mid-joint wings (separate). 
Now that you've prepared the chicken wings, you can start marinating them. I put in some Chinese wine, light soy sauce, corn flour and sugar. If you're using frozen wings, you may add some lemon juice first after defrosting to get rid of the freezer smell that you sometimes find in frozen meat.
With the marinade
Mixed - leave for at least 1 hour before cooking
I find that the earlier you marinate the meat, the better it tastes. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) marinating the meat isn't something common in Western cooking, and I wonder why... of course marinating doesn't mean you need soy sauce and Asian seasoning, but it does enhance the flavour!

So when you're done with the preparation of the meat, prepare the veg:

Use 2 medium-sized onions, one red pepper and one green pepper.
Of course you can use any veg you like, but peppers with fermented black beans = very Chinese! 

Add some warm water to the fermented black beans, and let them sit for 15 minutes.
Use a spoon to mash the black beans. 

Cook the chicken wings first - until they're 80% done. Put aside. 
Wash the wok (don't be lazy...), and put onions into very hot oil. Stir-fry for a few minutes, then add black bean sauce - be careful of splashing! 
After a few minutes, add peppers. Stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add chicken wings, stir for a while and cover with lid. Cook for another 10 minutes.
After that you can add some dark soy sauce to add some 'colour' to the wings, but it's not necessary.
Some chefs like to add a corn flour mixture to thicken the sauce and create a glistening effect, but if you have used corn flour in the marinating process, it's not necessary. 
You like? 

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