Do you guys think I’m doing this for my own amusement? I have to tell you I am not impressed. I spend the early part of the week cogitating “What would they like to see?” “What would be good enough to share with them?” “I’ll need to buy another couple of plates, they are probably bored with these ones…” The thought process goes on. The angst builds until I finally settle on cooking something that I am convinced will win you over. The latter part of the week is spent ensuring I have the best and the freshest ingredients. Saturday, I check my camera gear. Tension in the household mounts. On Saturday evening or possibly Sunday, I take control of the kitchen and cook and photograph for you. Then I process the pictures and try to think of something to say.
So went the week that I did all the above and cooked Monkfish Cheeks in Black Bean and Chili Sauce. And what do you do? You complain that you can’t get monkfish cheeks in Outer Mongolia or wherever it is you live. I am not happy. It is becoming obvious that you are incapable of truly appreciating my culinary art.
I accept this as how things are and how they will remain. On the principle of “If you can’t beat them, join them.”, here’s something very similar done using chicken. I give you Chicken with Peppers, Chili, Lemon grass, Garlic, Ginger and Black Bean Sauce. There are a couple of extra ingredients in the title to try to keep the less ungrateful of you interested.
- 3 free range chicken breasts
- 3 bell peppers
- 3 chilis
- 3 stalks of lemongrass
- An inch of ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Fermented black beans
- 2 tablespoons of rice wine
- 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cornstarch
- Thai fragrant rice to serve
First pour some hot water on the black beans. These take about 20 minutes to come good.
Then chop the lemongrass.
Then chop the garlic, ginger and chilis.
Next, seed and chop the peppers. Note the size of the peppers when cut. We want to keep them roughly the same size as the chicken strips. This is for aesthetic reasons and ease of eating.
Next chop the chicken into strips, and put it in a bowl.
Side note of efficiency: I chop the food in this order so I only have to wash the chopping board once at the end. I cut the stuff in ascending order of wetness/sliminess. It also helps to do the chicken last so as not to be spreading raw chicken bits all over the place with the other ingredients.
Whip the egg with a little water and add to the chicken.
Mix it all up to coat the chicken strips. Heat your large wok. (Don’t start on about not having a large wok. I don’t want to hear it.). Add some peanut oil and then the lemongrass. Stir this until the aromas rise then add the garlic and ginger. Stir this for a little and take it off the heat.
Add and fry the peppers until they get a nice high colour.
Remove and reserve. Add the chicken strips a few at a time (to prevent the wok cooling down and the chicken stewing). Stir fry them.
When all the chicken is in there, add the chilis and stir fry to incorporate.
Splash in the soy sauce and rice wine.
Add back the peppers.
Then add the black beans
Stir to incorporate everything.
We had it with Thai Fragrant Rice that modestly describes itself as “Legendary Rice”. The flavour of the dish is enhanced by “Healthy Boy Brand” soy sauce. I can testify that the dish is healthy. Try it yourself and let me know if it qualifies as “Legendary”.
Now, you have no excuses. All the ingredients are available locally to you. Go and cook this. Report back and let me know if you are once again approving of, and grateful for, my efforts here. Remember, I am doing this for YOU!
With particular thanks to:
- Tommy at egg me on for suggesting chicken instead of the fish.
- Richard at REM Cooks for being unable to get monkfish cheeks in DFW.
- John in Chicago for likewise in Chicago.
- John at Feed the Piglet for never cooking monkfish cheeks before.
- Eha for not knowing if she could get them in Australia.
- Stefan at Stefan Gourmet for never having seen monkfish cheeks for sale.
- To Jodie and Ken at the Garum Factory for “never see the cheeks”.
- Mad Dog for his comments and co-sparking with Tommy the idea for this post.
- And last but not least, the rest of you, for putting up with this nonsense.