This drunken chicken with black beans, ginger and garlic is a braised dish. Braising is a cooking method that means cooking slowly over low heat with a small amount of liquid. It is sometimes used interchangeably with pot roasting although purists like to make a distinction.
In braising, it is usual to first brown and sear the meat before adding any liquid. But the fact that there are braised vegetable dishes makes it obvious that searing is not an integral part of braising.
Why am I talking about braising?
Because it is my favorite alternative to frying marinated meat. I don’t like frying because of the mess it makes (oh, the terrible oil spatter!) and I don’t often have enough space in the fridge for marinating meat. With braised dishes, I get the best of both worlds — highly flavorful meat that is not swimming in watery sauce.
This highly aromatic chicken with black beans, ginger and garlic needs only the simplest side vegetables to highlight the intense flavors.
It starts with the chicken — drumsticks, in my case, although you can use just about any part of the bird to make this dish.
I browned the chicken drumsticks in the fat rendered from the skin. Because drumsticks don’t have a flat an even surface, they browned only in spots. If you prefer even browning, you can sear them in hot oil. I was okay with uneven browning because I just wanted to lose the pinkness to prevent the formation of scum.
The seasonings that went into the pan came straight out of two jars. One was black beans and garlic sauce; the other was spicy ginger and garlic sauce. If one or both are unavailable, just get plain fermented black beans, and use fresh minced ginger and garlic.
With the seasonings and spices in the pan, the drumsticks were stirred around until every piece was coated with the mixtures.
Rice wine was poured in to deglaze the pan. Readers say that sherry is an okay substitute but I’ve never tried it.
Once the rice wine was in the pan, the braising began. Low heat. Tightly covered pan.
While the chicken drumsticks were braising, the cauliflower and broccoli florets were cooked in lightly salted water.
The cooked chicken went into the middle of a serving platter. The vegetables were scattered around them.
A beautiful and tasty meal.
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 1 heaping tablespoon black beans and garlic sauce (available in supermarkets)
- 1 heaping tablespoon spicy ginger and garlic sauce (available in supermarkets)
- 1/2 cup rice wine
- 1 small head broccoli
- 1 small head cauliflower
Cook the chicken in a non-stick frying pan until it renders fat and the skins start to brown (if a non-stick pan is unavailable, brown the chicken with about two tablespoonfuls of vegetable cooking oil).
Add the sauces and stir to coat each piece of chicken.
Pour in the rice wine. Cover than pan and braise for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is done and the sauce has been reduced to about two tablespoonfuls.
While the chicken cooks, cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Blanch in boiling salted water for five minutes, drain then plunge in iced water.
To serve, place the chicken on a platter and surround with the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Serve at once.