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Coarsely ground peppercorns add as much texture as taste to two chicken dishes
Milk Street Bowtie Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans

Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans

35 minutes

Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans

Free

This simple stir-fry, a version of a dish we had in Cambodia's Kampot region, gets its bold, savory backbone from a full 3 tablespoons of black peppercorns that are coarsely cracked, then toasted to draw out deep, complex flavors and a rich, heady aroma. Sugar, fish sauce and fresh lime juice balance the pepper’s fieriness. Though Cambodian Kampot pepper is ideal, any variety of whole black peppercorns works nicely as long as they're fresh. Serve the stir-fry with steamed rice.

3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 medium carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons black peppercorns

  • pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3

    tablespoons white sugar

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 4

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1

    tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, coarsely crack the peppercorns; do not crush or grind to a powder. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the cracked peppercorns, stirring, until fragrant and lightly smoking, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; wipe out the skillet and reserve.
    See Demo
    Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans Step 1
  2. 02
    In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the cracked pepper and 2 teaspoons salt, then toss to combine; set aside.
    See Demo
    Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans Step 2
  3. 03
    Return the skillet to medium-high and heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, then cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and sugar, then stir to coat with the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining cracked pepper, the fish sauce, carrot, green beans and ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
    See Demo
    Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans Step 3
  4. 04
    Uncover and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and lightly clings to the chicken, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining pepper. Serve with lime wedges.
    See Demo
    Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans Step 4
Tip: Don't pulverize the peppercorns to a powder; keep them coarse so they add texture, as well as bursts of sharp flavor. A mortar and pestle work best to get an even texture; an electric spice grinder works, too, but produces a mixture of cracked peppercorns and finer powder.
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Stir-Fried Black Pepper Chicken with Green Beans

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

35 minutes

Tip

Don't pulverize the peppercorns to a powder; keep them coarse so they add texture, as well as bursts of sharp flavor. A mortar and pestle work best to get an even texture; an electric spice grinder works, too, but produces a mixture of cracked peppercorns and finer powder.

Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons black peppercorns

  • pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3

    tablespoons white sugar

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 4

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1

    tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 4

Toast Peppercorns

3
tablespoons black peppercorns

Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, coarsely crack the peppercorns; do not crush or grind to a powder.


In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the cracked peppercorns, stirring, until fragrant and lightly smoking, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; wipe out the skillet and reserve.

Step 2 of 4

Season Chicken

pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the cracked pepper and 2 teaspoons salt, then toss to combine; set aside.

Step 3 of 4

Cook Chicken

1
tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
1
medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
6
medium garlic cloves, chopped
3
tablespoons white sugar
3
tablespoons fish sauce
1
medium carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4
ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Return the skillet to medium-high and heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, then cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.


Add the chicken and sugar, then stir to coat with the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining cracked pepper, the fish sauce, carrot, green beans and ¼ cup water.


Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Step 4 of 4

Finish Stir-Fry

1
tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
Kosher salt

Uncover and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and lightly clings to the chicken, about 5 minutes.


Taste and season with salt. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining pepper. Serve with lime wedges.

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