Am I the only person who sort of forgets about pepper? I mean I use it all the time, in nearly every recipe, and yes I think it even has a place in some sweet recipes. But it’s more of an unconscious seasoning, like salt, which goes in everything (and for good reason; one who makes everything from scratch doesn’t need to worry about the salt police so much). I certainly wouldn’t think of black pepper as hot, like chilli peppers. My mistake. On deciding that the flavours in this recipe looked a little bland, only a pinch of cayenne to give it any heat, I nearly doubled the amount of black pepper recommended in the original. Big mistake. My mouth was on fire, my eyes were watering and my stomach was not happy at all. Not to mention I inhaled some of it accidentally and ended up in a five-minute coughing fit. Learn from my mistakes and treat the pepper with respect. The quantity below is the original suggested; exceed it at your peril.
Black pepper chicken with mango and cashews
Adapted slightly from New York Times
The name of this recipe had rum in the title but the only rum in the cupboard is some rather nice 7-year-aged Nicaraguan stuff, so I decided not to use that *just* for a weeknight recipe. Instead I threw in some brandy bought especially for cooking and the result was, I imagine, fairly similar, with a sticky, sweet sauce, balanced out by the vinegar and coriander.
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
200g chicken, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons rum (or brandy if you don’t have any)
1 tablespoon coriander, leaves and stems, chopped
3 tablespoons cashew nuts, chopped
1 mango, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1. In a large wok heat a drizzle of oil. Fry the onion for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and chicken, along with some salt, the black pepper and cayenne. Cook over a high heat for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is browned and cooked all the way through.
2. Add the brandy. Stir for about a minute until the pan is deglazed and the alcohol has bubbled down to a sticky sauce. Add the coriander, cashews, mango and cider vinegar. Heat for another 30 seconds, taste, season and remove from the heat. Serve immediately over brown rice.