A couple of weeks ago, I had the hardest time finding chicken wings in supermarkets. It seemed that stores around here just couldn't keep enough in stock for the Super Bowl. So I had to wait...and wait...until almost a week later, to make these black bean chicken wings that I had been craving.
We tend to think of chicken wings as appetizers, but they're almost always served as entrees in Chinese homes. See, for example, the soy sauce chicken or Coca-Cola chicken wings I wrote about last year. (Coke may have only been in China for a few decades, but is already a popular cooking ingredient.) Black bean chicken wings is another popular dish, with a deep earthy flavor from either fermented black beans or jarred Chinese black bean sauce. The wings are first seared until golden on each side, then braised for 15 to 20 minutes in a covered wok or pan. I added a bit of cayenne pepper for a mild smokiness, but you can always double the portions for more of a kick.
So even though chicken wing fever has died down from a week ago, this still made a tasty meal for a cold, gray Saturday, when 20 minutes in front of the stove was just long enough to not interrupt a Netflix marathon.
Black Bean Chicken Wings
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 scallion, chopped, plus extra chopped or shredded for garnish if desired
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teapoon minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinse and mashed with a spoon, or Chinese black bean sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Remove and discard the wing tips. Separate the wings and drummettes if desired.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base. Carefully add the wings with tongs and and sear on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the wings and sear on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped scallions, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until just aromatic, about 20 seconds. Add the black bean sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cover with wok or pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Allow the chicken wings to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to a sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the wings to a serving dish, garnish with scallions if desired, and serve.