Black pepper chicken is a quick and easy dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights. Prepared with yummy spices and crisp bell peppers, it’s a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy!
Stir-fries are a quick way to whip up a delicious meal for the family. You can pull them together in no time and with virtually whatever ingredients you have around.
But one problem I often encounter in this type of high-temp cooking is that the protein ends up dry and lacking in flavor. I’ve always wondered why the meat in stir-fry dishes from Chinese restaurants are moist and succulent with an almost velvet-like texture.
Well, folks, the answer behind the velvety texture, I found out, is called velveting.
Cooking technique for moist and tender meat
Velveting is a Chinese cooking method wherein chicken, pork, beef, or fish is marinated in a mixture of egg white, cornstarch, and rice wine and then briefly blanched in oil or water. The velveted meat is finished off with other ingredients in quick stir-fry applications such as in beef broccoli and this black pepper chicken.
The simple process creates a protective coat that seals moisture and protects the meat from overcooking, keeping it super moist and tender.
- I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thigh or leg meat in this recipe, but breast will work as well.
- Slice the meat across the grain and into uniform thickness to ensure a tender chew and even cooking.
- Stir-frying is a quick procedure; make sure to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go.
- This version calls for bell peppers and onions; feel free to swap celery, spring onions, mushrooms, baby corn, or carrots.
- For best results, use freshly ground black pepper and season the dish generously.
How to serve
- Serve this delicious chicken stir-fry with steamed or fried rice and chow mein for an Asian-themed lunch or dinner.
- Keep leftovers in a container with tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Warm-up in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until heated through, stirring well after each interval.
Black Pepper Chicken
- 1 lb chicken thigh meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cubed
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and cubed
- Wash chicken and drain well.
- In a bowl, combine egg white, cornstarch, rice wine, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and salt. Whisk together until well-blended.
- Add chicken and stir to fully coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. In a colander, drain chicken.
- In a pot over high heat, combine about 2-inch deep of water and 1 tablespoon of oil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and immediately add chicken, stirring to disperse.
- Bring water back to a gentle simmer and once it's barely bubbling, continue to cook chicken for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from pot and drain well. Keep warm and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice wine, black pepper, and sesame oil. Stir until well-blended and set aside.
- In a wok or wide pan over high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions, garlic, and bell peppers and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until tender yet crisp.
- Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil.
- Add chicken and stir to fully coat with sauce. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Serve hot.