Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
This Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce is a quick and easy weeknight stir-fry that’s full of BIG and BOLD flavors! Tender chicken pieces get tossed with aromatics, onion, bell peppers, and dried red chilies in a wicked delicious sauce that’s infused with savory umami notes from a spicy black bean stir-fry sauce!
This Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce is a delicious stir-fry dish that packs an incredible punch! It ticks all my favorite boxes on busy weeknights.
- Easy. ✅
- Ready in 30 minutes or less. ✅
- Full of BIG and BOLD and spicy flavors! ✅
All you need is a couple of everyday aromatics (garlic, ginger, spring onion), chicken (thighs or breasts – you pick), onion, bell peppers, black bean sauce, and a few other Asian sauces and pantry staples to whip up this colorful stir-fry in a matter of minutes!
While similar to takeout versions of this classic dish, my version calls for jarred spicy black bean sauce instead of fermented black beans. The stir-fry sauce for this dish is also amped up with other delicious Asian sauces – like gochujang and sriracha – that play really well together. With this delicious sauce kissing each piece of tender and juicy chicken and coating the crisp veggies, this easy chicken with spicy black bean sauce is irresistible and a weeknight treat!
Pair it with some steamed rice and a side of steamed or stir-fried Asian greens, and you’ll have yourself a tasty homecooked Chinese feast at home!
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s quick and easy to make on any given weeknight in 30 minutes (inclusive of prep time!).
- You can customize it with your favorite protein. Shrimp, pork, and beef would all be equally delicious in this flavor-packed spicy black bean stir-fry sauce! You can even make it vegetarian with some crispy pan-fried tofu cubes!
- Marinating the chicken thighs allows the flavors to penetrate the meat. The corn starch in the marinade also gives the chicken a lovely tender texture.
- The stir-fry sauce full of umami from a black bean sauce that’s made with fermented black beans, as well as smoky hot flavors from gochujang. It’s also perfectly balanced with salty and spicy notes with just a hint of sweetness.
- It’s a one wok wonder. This means less cleanup time + less dishes + hurrah for an easy speedy dinner!!
- Marinated Chicken: I used diced boneless and skinless chicken thighs and marinated it with low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, corn starch, and sesame oil. But you can use boneless and skinless chicken breasts if you prefer to use leaner meat.
- Veggies: I kept it simple and used diced yellow onion and red and yellow bell peppers. You can use any colored bell peppers you like. Feel free to add in any extra stir-fry friendly veggies. (See ‘Variations’ section below for more veggie ideas).
- Fresh Red Chilies: I used plenty of hot Thai Bird’s Eye chilies to spice up this stir-fry. But you can adjust the quantity of fresh red chilies you use to taste based on your heat level preference. Feel free to deseed them to make the dish less spicy, or omit them completely
- Peanut Oil: Or use any other neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point (i.e: canola, vegetable, avocado oil, etc.).
- Chinese Dried Red Chilies: I used Yunnan dried red chili peppers, which are similar in terms of heat level to Mexican Chile de Arbol and interchangeable with them. Feel free to use Chile de Arbol peppers or any Asian dried red chili peppers you have on hand. But be sure to just adjust the amount to taste. I.e. Thai dried red chilies are much hotter, so you may want to use less depending on your heat level preference.
- Oyster Sauce: In spite of the name, this sauce does not taste strongly of oysters. It has a salty-sweet flavor profile, and is thick and sticky in texture. Find it in an Asian supermarket, or the Asian aisle of a well-stocked regular supermarket.
- Shao Xing Rice Wine: An Asian pantry staple for marinades, stir-fries, and more. It’s a fragrant Chinese cooking wine that you can find in Asian supermarkets (or online). Substitute with dry sherry if unavailable, or use apple juice if you don’t want to cook with alcohol. The apple juice will lend a similar floral aroma to the dish.
- Sriracha sauce: Any brand will work, but I like to use Huy Fong’s Sriracha Sauce to add a hint of tang and spicy flavors. Use less if less heat is desired.
- Spicy Black Bean Sauce: The star ingredient of this dish! I used Lee Kum Kee Spicy Black Bean Sauce. The key ingredients in this sauce are fermented black beans and ripened salted chili peppers. It’s full of savory umami notes and is medium spicy on the heat level scale. If you prefer a milder dish, you can use Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce, or any other black bean sauce that you can find in your local Asian supermarket.
- Chili oil (optional): This is a pure Chinese chili oil without any seeds or flakes. Omit it if you want to make this dish milder.
- Gochujang: A Korean hot pepper paste made with fermented chilies. Although its deep red color suggests it’s super spicy, it is actually smoky-spicy flavored with a hint of sweetness. It adds depth of flavor to this stir-fry. Find it in your local Asian supermarket.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
1. Fry the dried red chilies. In a bit oil so that they get crisp and fragrant. Transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. (Pro-tip: Leave them whole for a milder dish, or snip them with kitchen scissors to expose the seeds, which will add more heat to the stir-fry dish.)
2. Cook the chicken. Add a little more oil to the wok and cook the marinated chicken. Once no longer pink and cooked through, transfer to a clean bowl.
3. Stir-fry the onion and aromatics. Add the remaining oil to the wok, and stir-fry the onion and spring onion white and light green parts for a few seconds until slightly softened. Then add the garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies and stir-fry everything for few more seconds until fragrant.
4. Add the bell peppers and dried red chilies. Toss briefly to combine.
5. Add the chicken and sauce. Stir-fry continuously for about a minute, until everything is coated well in the sauce and it starts to thicken.
6. Toss through spring onion green parts. Then switch off the heat.
7. Serve! Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with more chopped spring onion if desired. Serve immediately with some warm steamed rice to soak up all of that delicious sauce!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Prepare everything before you start cooking. This stir-fry goes by fast and is ready in about 15 minutes. Prepare all your ingredients first so that you’re not struggling to quickly chop anything once the cooking starts.
- Cook the chicken in batches. You many need to cook the chicken in two batches in order to not overcrowd the wok. Overcrowding will result in the chicken steaming and becoming mushy.
- Dice the veggies approximately the same size as the chicken. Even sized bell peppers, onion and chicken pieces will promote even cooking.
- Adjust spice level to taste. Use less fresh red chilies and dried red chilies to make this dish milder. Also omit the chili oil for the stir-fry sauce, and use less freshly cracked black pepper.
Black bean sauce can be used in noodle dishes, stir-fries, steamed dishes, and even as a drizzling sauce for your morning eggs! It pairs particularly well with seafood dishes like Stir-fried Clams with Black Beans.
Look for it in an Asian supermarket, or you can purchase a bottle online from Amazon.
Although this stir-fry tastes amazing right after cooking, it also tastes great as leftovers and can be made for meal prep. Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat for 2-3 minutes on high in the microwave until hot throughout.
- Use a different protein. Shrimp, sliced pork fillet (tenderloin), or beef flank or skirt steak would all taste great in this spicy black bean sauce stir-fry.
- Make it vegetarian/vegan. Use crispy pan-fried tofu cubes or a plant-based meat alternative. Add to the wok when you’d add the cooked marinated chicken pieces.
- Make it gluten-free. Use a homemade gluten-free black bean sauce, dry sherry instead of Shao Xing rice wine, gluten-free soy sauce (preferably a low sodium one), and a gluten-free oyster sauce.
- Add more veggies. Diced carrots, snap peas, green bell pepper (instead of yellow and red), broccoli, or sliced Chinese celery (or regular celery) would all be tasty additions.
More Easy Weeknight Stir-fries
- Spicy Pepper Chicken
- Spicy Kung Pao Chicken
- Pork and Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry
- Taiwanese Lamb and Water Spinach Stir-fry
- Yu Xiang Qie Zie (Fish-Fragrant Eggplant)
- Spicy Korean Pork Stir-fry
- Chili Garlic Shrimp
- Or browse the entire Stir-fry recipe collection.
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Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
This Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce is a quick and easy weeknight stir-fry that’s full of BIG and BOLD flavors! Tender chicken pieces get tossed with aromatics, onion, bell peppers, and dried red chilies in a wicked delicious savory and spicy sauce!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stir-fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
For the Chicken Marinade:
- 500 grams / 1.1 pounds Chicken Thighs (or Breasts), boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried, excess fat trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- 1 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- 1 TBLS Corn Starch
- 1 TSP Sesame Oil
For the Stir-fry Sauce:
- 2 TSP Corn Starch
- 2 – 3 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, more or less to taste
- 1 TSP White Sugar
- ½ – 1 TSP Chili Oil (optional)
- 1 TSP Sesame Oil
- 1 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- 1 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- 2 TBLS Oyster Sauce
- 2 TBLS Spicy Black Bean Sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee brand, but any store-bought black bean sauce will work)
- 1 TBLS Gochujang
- 1–2 TSP Sriracha Sauce, to taste
- ½ cup Water
For the Stir-fry:
- 3.5 TBLS Peanut Oil (or any other neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point)
- ½ medium Yellow Onion – diced
- 2 large Spring Onion – cut into 1.5-inch pieces, white and green parts separated
- ½ medium Red Bell Pepper – deseeded, diced
- ½ medium Yellow Bell Pepper – deseeded, diced
- 10 Garlic cloves – minced
- 2 TBLS minced Ginger
- 4–12 fresh Red Chilies (I used Bird’s Eye, but Holland or any other small hot chilies will work), to taste – finely chopped
- 10–12 Chinese Dried Red Chilies (I used Yunnan Dried Red Chilies)
- To Serve: Steamed rice, chopped spring onion
- Marinate the chicken: Clean and pat-dry the chicken thighs and trim off any excess fat. Cut into bite-sized pieces and add to medium sized bowl, followed by the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, corn starch, and sesame oil. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
- Make the stir-fry sauce: Combine the corn starch, freshly cracked black pepper, white sugar, chili oil (if using), sesame oil, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, oyster sauce, spicy black bean sauce, gochujang, sriracha, and water in a small measuring cup (for easier pouring) or bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined, then set aside.
- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop the yellow onion, spring onions (be sure to separate the white and green parts, red and yellow bell peppers, garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Destem the dried red chilies and set aside.
For the Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce:
- Fry the dried red chilies: Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large wok or heavy bottomed deep frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the dried red chilies and sauté for 30-40 seconds, until they start to crisp up and darken slightly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Then transfer to a small bowl and set aside. (Pro-tip: For a spicier dish, snip the chilies using kitchen shears into 2-3 pieces each. The seeds that become exposed will add more heat into the stir-fry.)
- Cook the chicken: Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken and immediately spread out the pieces in the wok. Allow to sear for 1 minute without touching, then stir-fry for another minute until the chicken has cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a clean bowl. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel and set back on the stovetop. (Note: Depending on your wok size, you many need to cook the chicken in two batches in order to not overcrowd the wok. Overcrowding will result in the chicken steaming and becoming mushy.)
- Stir-fry the onion and aromatics: Heat the remainder 1.5 tablespoons of oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the yellow onion, spring onion white parts and stir-fry for a 30-40 seconds until slightly softened. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies and stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the bell peppers and dried red chilies: Add the red and yellow bell peppers and the dried red chilies, toss to combine.
- Add the chicken and sauce: Add the chicken along with any juices in the bowl, and pour the stir-fry sauce on top. Stir-fry continuously for 1-2 minutes, until everything is well coated in the sauce it starts to thicken.
- Toss through spring onion: Stir in the spring onion green parts, then switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Transfer to a serving bowl/dish and garnish with more chopped spring onion. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.
- Asian ingredients. All sauces and oils used in this stir-fry can be found in an Asian supermarket or online. Some (oyster sauce, gochujang, sriracha sauce, sesame oil) may also be available in the Asian aisle of a well-stocked regular supermarket. For more information on each of these ingredients, refer to the ‘Ingredient Notes’ section in the post.
- Spicy Black Bean Sauce. You can use Lee Kum Kee brand Spicy Black Bean Sauce, their Black Bean Garlic Sauce for a milder dish, or any black bean sauce available in your local Asian supermarket.
- Spice level: This dish can be made milder based on your heat level preference by using less of (or omitting) the fresh red chilies and dried red chilies. You can also omit the chili oil and use less freshly cracked black pepper in the stir-fry sauce.
- Storing leftovers: Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat for 2-3 minutes on high in the microwave until hot throughout.
- See ‘Variations’ section in post if you’d like to customize this stir-fry with a different protein, use more or other veggies, or make it suitable for a gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan diet.
Shop the Recipe
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 432
- Sugar: 13g
- Sodium: 871.8mg
- Fat: 20.4g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 14.5g
- Trans Fat: 1.5g
- Carbohydrates: 31.7g
- Fiber: 3.5g
- Protein: 29.8g
- Cholesterol: 117.5mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.
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