Chef Andrew Zimmern shares his recipe for a Chinese-inspired Chicken Stir Fry with Black beans, Chiles and Peanuts that he calls a "bowl-licker."


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing or sake (Chinese or Japanese rice wine)*
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons toban djan (fermented chile bean paste)
  • ⅓ cup toasted peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 6 dried whole chiles, preferably Chinese tsin-tsin chiles or Mexican arbols
  • 1 tablespoon sliced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup whole fermented Chinese black beans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Serves: 2


Combine the chicken, rice wine, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon toban djan in a large resealable plastic bag or bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover or seal and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (but ideally between 4 to 24 hours). The cornstarch is what gives you a crispy, velvety coating on your chicken. 

*Easy Swap: If you don't have Chinese or Japanese rice wine, Andrew suggests substituting half-apple juice and half-cider vinegar.

When ready to cook, drain the chicken and discard any remaining marinade.

Preheat a wok over high heat for several minutes. Combine the peanuts, white pepper, sugar, Szechuan peppercorns, dried chiles, ginger and garlic in a bowl. When the wok is very hot, add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the pan; it should smoke and ripple immediately. Add the peanut mixture and swirl immediately to cook. Add the chicken and two-thirds of the scallions, and cook, tossing in the wok, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the fermented black beans, brown sugar, black vinegar, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon toban djan. Toss and cook for another 2 minutes; the sauce should reduce into a glaze. Add the remaining scallions, toss, and immediately transfer to a serving platter. Serve with the white rice.