A one-pot dish, the black beans and garlic chicken is steamed over parboiled rice. The meat juices fall into the rice, flavoring the grains and seasoning them subtly. The dish, including parboiling the rice, cooks in 40 minutes flat.
This is a Chinese dish? Yes, an adaptation of claypot chicken rice. Our claypot is too small to feed three so I had to use a larger pan. Black mushrooms are traditionally added to claypot chicken rice but we ran out of all kinds of mushrooms. Too late to drive to the market or the grocery. That’s what we got for spending the entire morning watching the telecast of the 74th Golden Globe Awards. I don’t regret starting lunch a bit late though—listening to Meryl Streep’s speech after accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award was an unforgettable moment.
Now, back to cooking. Can the steamed black beans and garlic chicken be cooked separately from the rice? Sure, why not? But why use two pots when you can use just one? You’ll have less washing to do afterward. Plus, you get to save on water.
Why parboil the rice? If you cook the rice and chicken together, the chicken will sink into the water and all the seasonings will just go into the liquid. The rice might turn out tasty but the chicken will be bland.
The traditional way is to soak the rice for about six hours. The grains, heavy with the water that they have soaked up, will only need steam to get cooked through. I didn’t have six hours to soak the rice. Lunch was already late as it was so I improvised. Parboiling the rice for 10 minutes did the trick. The entire process is described in the cooking instructions below.
- 4 chicken thigh fillets, skin on
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, drained
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 and ½ cups rice
- 2 Chinese sausages, sliced into rings
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- snipped scallions, to garnish
- Pat the chicken thigh fillets dry. Cut into strips about half an inch wide. Place in a bowl.
- Lightly pound the black beans and garlic together.
- Add the pounded black beans and garlic, fish sauce and pepper to the chicken. Mix well. Cover and allow to marinade while you prepare the rice.
- Rinse the rice and place in a wide shallow cooking pan. Pour in 1 and ½ cups water. Bring to the boil. Cover the pan. Turn off the heat. Let the rice grains absorb the water in the residual heat for 10 minutes.
- Toss the sliced Chinese sausages with the chicken.
- Scatter the chicken (including the marinade) and sausage sliced over the rice.
- Place the pan in a steamer set over simmering water. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Off the heat, drizzle sesame seed oil over the steamed black beans and garlic chicken. Sprinkle in the scallions. Serve at once.