Chicken with Bell Peppers, Onion, and Black Bean Sauce

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This is a classic Cantonese dish that I often order at Chinese restaurants to gauge how good they are. Big chunks of bell pepper and onions stir fried with black bean and garlic sauce-marinated chicken. Make with extra liquid ingredients and it's delicious and rice-sending too (so you can serve less of it with more rice for a big crowd).


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (dark meat preferred), cut to bite-sized
  • 1/2 lb bell pepper, cut to 1.5 inch squares
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into quarters (eighths, really)
  • 4 tsp Chinese fermented black beans (dao tsi)
  • 1-2 cloves crushed/minced garlic, to taste, preferences
  • 1 Tbsp sherry (if using cooking sherry, be prepared to lower other salt)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • soy sauce or black (darker, slightly sweeter) soy
  • salt


  • Mortar and Pestle OR sturdy bowl and back of a metal spoon
  • Garlic press OR chopping board and sharp knife


  1. Prep:
    1. Black bean sauce: Rinse dao tsi 2 or 3 times under cold water. Run fingers through dao tsai to ensure no black bean-sized rocks are in the mix. Let soak while peeling, crushing and mincing garlic. mix and crush garlic and dao tsi in mortar and pestle. Add sesame oil, a drizzle of sherry, soy or black soy, and sesame oil, and grind with mortar and pestle. Transfer to a marinating bowl for marinating with chicken.
    2. Trim chicken and cut up into bite sized pieces. Mix with black bean sauce and marinate, covered, in fridge (1 or more hours, or overnight).
    3. Cut onion ends off, cut in half, peel, and cut each half into quarters. Set aside in a bowl.
    4. Cut bell pepper(s) into 1.5 inch squares. (Quick tutorial on how to quickly clean and cut up a pepper.)
  2. Cook (after chicken has marinated):
    1. Dry fry onion segments in high heat wok to some scorching, add a Tbsp of oil and toss, stir frying until almost cooked. Pull out of wok and set aside in a bowl.
    2. Do the same for the bell peppers. Be conservative about cooking. Since bell peppers can be eaten raw, you can err on the side of undercooked. Pull out of wok and set aside in same bowl with onion.
    3. Saute chicken until almost done, letting sit in marinade juices and simmer/braise until pink is gone from flesh. Pull a piece out, cut in half and test for color, if pink is not in evidence, taste for doneness or cook until you're sure.
    4. Add onions and bell peppers back to the wok or cooking vessel, stir and mix with the heat on, and serve.