Mouth too full to think of a clever title: Spicy Black Bean Chicken

Several months ago — and I’m talking probably somewhere at the tail-end of 2011 — my roommate decided that since she’d never eaten anything with Serrano peppers and I had never cooked with them, that we needed to buy some and I needed to work some kitchen-fu with them.  So I went into the trusty and typed in “Serrano and chicken” into the search and found quite a few ideas.  The one I’d settled on was this one, Chicken Karhaai, though I made a few changes.  I don’t normally buy whole chickens unless I’m planning to make soup/stew or to roast one, so I used just boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which is what we keep around in our freezer.  Other than that change, I pretty much followed the rest of the recipe as is because it was so easy and quick to throw together.

Well, I made this again a week or two ago, and I decided to adapt it a little further.  I though it would be tasty if I added a can of black beans to it, and I doubled the amount of salt to a teaspoon instead of just a half so that it wouldn’t be bland with the addition of the beans.  Needless to say, this tasted even better, and it yielded leftovers of the beans and sauce that I ate it the next day reheated and poured over rice.   I make rice with this dish anyway, but next day reheated spicy-gingery black beans over rice make such a lovely lunch!  Oh, I also cut down the amount of oil put into the pan.  The original recipe on the site calls for 1/4 cup, and that’s just unnecessary.  Two, three tablespoons, tops.  I’d go with two.


2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless; remove all fat and tendon pieces, then make slices on the underside and pound out with a tenderizer to make them a thinner and more even thickness to make cooking easier

1-2 diced tomatoes

3 tbsp minced ginger or ginger paste

2 Serrano peppers, chopped small

2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely gound

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 can of black beans, don’t drain

1/2 cup of water


1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.  Lightly brown the chicken breasts on all sides in the oil.  When it’s no longer pink, remove from the pan onto a plate covered with paper towels.  This will soak up most of the oil from the meat.  Set aside for a moment while you work on the rest of the ingredient.


2. After you’ve set the chicken aside, turn the heat to medium or just under.  Stir in the tomato, ginger, Serrano peppers, crushed peppercorn, and salt.  Stir those together for just a few seconds then add in the whole can of black beans, liquid and all.  Mix around with the other ingredients and add in the water.  Use your discretion on the water — you might not need the full half cup because of the liquid from the beans.


3. After everything’s mixed together really well, add the chicken breasts back in and turn them a few times so that they’re coated in the beans and spices.  Spoon over some of the beans and tomatoes and peppers, then lower the heat to just above the lowest setting.  Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.  This will ensure that the chicken is all the way cooked but not dry.  It will be very tender and juicy!


4. Plate up your rice.  I usually add a little butter, but that’s me.  Then place the chicken on the plate and cover the rice with the beans-tomatoes-pepper mix.  Shovel it into your mouth and eat it up!  Yum!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Katy says:

    Man, that looks good. I don’t often like spicy foods, but I’d try this one! Or maybe if I made something similar myself, I’d go with a not-so-spicy pepper, like poblanos or something. Because I am a wimp.

    1. The other thing you can do is use one Serrano and even look for a small one. It’ll have the flavor but not as much of the heat. The heat is caused by a combination of the Serrano, black pepper, and ginger, but the flavor combination is amazing. So you could cut down on how much black pepper goes in as well as just use one pepper. It won’t have near the heat. This is an extremely flavorful dish, and it’s really light, even if you eat it with rice. I’ve thought of making it with pinto beans, too, but the black beans work really well with it.

  2. chefcricket says:

    I made this last night and it came out wonderfully, a nice slow burn without being “call the fire station” hot. However, I couldn’t find the ginger paste or anything but dried ground ginger at my grocery store, so I used that and cut it down to just 1 tbs. It was great! Also, for some reason the store didn’t carry “normal” sized cans of black beans, so I ended up using one of those double sized cans. It still worked really well, but it means there’s a ton of beans left over. I think someone will be packing lunches next week. 😛

    1. Oh that’s exactly how it should be. A very sweet type of hot that makes you feel like Loki’s in his…er…heaven? and all is right with the world. The minced ginger that I use you’ll find on the ethnic aisle at the grocery store. It’s with the Asian foods, and it’s in a glass jar. I need get more, but our HEB has been under crazy renovation lately, so they haven’t had it. I’m also thinking of waiting until Kass and I go into Austin this month because we’ll go to the Asian grocery store (huge fucking place omg) to see if they have it cheaper and in bigger jars. When I use it, I use a couple of tbsps of it. It’s also damned good with stir-fry beef dishes. Yum. And that’s weird that you couldn’t find normal sized cans of black beans. Very weird. They might have just been out? But leftovers are never a bad thing with this dish, esp because you can make extra rice to heat it with. Om nom nom. By the by, this is the minced ginger I’ve been buying:

      Minced Ginger, Minced Garlic in Jars by Kitchen Parade 2010-400

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