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Whether you’re cooking up Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Southeast Asian dishes, you will start to see a commonality between the cuisines for creating a salty, savory, umami base flavor. That shared and loved taste in so many dishes across Asia is from variations of Fermented Bean Paste.
There’s chili bean paste (la dou ban jiang 豆瓣酱) or black bean paste in Chinese cooking; spicy bean paste (gochujang) in Korean cooking; and white, red or yellow miso bean paste in Japanese cooking.
The varieties are as endless as the types of dishes you can use them in – soups & stews, marinades & braises, salad dressings & sauces. Fermented bean pastes are also an easy way to add a complex, rich flavor to stir-fries as I’ve done here in this recipe for Miso Chicken with Bell Peppers.
If you don’t yet have a fermented bean paste in your refrigerator, but you are interested in trying it out in recipes, start with the type of bean paste associated with your favorite Asian cuisine. But if you like to cook up a good variety of Asian dishes, and don’t want to get a bean paste that limits your recipe selection, then I recommend starting with a mild, yellow Japanese miso paste.
Yellow miso is highly versatile, and can be used as a stand-in for other bean pastes that you may not have ready in your kitchen when a recipe asks for it. It’s also very easy to find as it seems to be available in most grocery stores now.
For this Miso Chicken with Bell Peppers recipe, I used just one tablespoon of yellow miso paste to give the stir-fry a delicious, savory base, and then sprinkled in Japanese Seven Spice to give it a kick. The fun part about this recipe is you can transform it into a Sichuan-style dish by just substituting in chili bean paste.
Enjoy this Miso Chicken with Bell Peppers with a bowl of steamed rice, and a cup of Gunpowder green tea.Print
- 2 pieces chicken breasts or chicken thighs – cut into bite size pieces
- 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4–5 cloves garlic – coarsely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper – chopped
- 1 small green bell peppers – chopped
- 1/2 tsp Japanese Seven Spice (Shichimi Togarashi), or to taste
For the marinade:
- 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine, or dry sherry
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine, or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp yellow miso paste
- In a medium bowl, stir together all the marinade ingredients. Toss the chicken in the marinade and set aside (allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes).
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, rice wine and miso paste. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over high heat until very hot. Swirl in oil to coat the bottom of the wok. Add in the chicken pieces, spreading it out as much as possible. Allow the edges to sear and lightly brown, then stir to cook all sides until just cooked through – about 2-3 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a bowl (leaving the oil in the wok), and set aside.
- Turn fire to medium low. Swirl in one tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add in garlic, and cook until aromatic (about 10-12 seconds). Turn fire up to high, add in the bell peppers and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the peppers are tender-crisp. Now return the chicken to the wok, toss to combine and then add in the sauce. Cook for another minute or two – making sure to stir and toss the ingredients well (add in one or two tablespoon of water if needed). Season with Japanese Seven Spice, and give everything a quick toss. Turn fire off and transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot with steamed rice.
- Serving Size: 3-4