Its flavours manage to both stand up to and complement the strong taste of the black beans and the heat from the chilli and ginger. The combination of these piquant ingredients delivers a bold flavoured dish, with the olive oil binding it all together.
- finely chopped young ginger
- 1 tsp raw caster sugar
- 2 tbsp salted black beans
- 150 ml Koroneki extra virgin olive oil
- 1 kg pipis
- splash of olive oil
- 4 medium French shallots, finely sliced
- 1-2 long red chillies, cut into thin-ish rounds
- 50 ml chicken stock
- healthy splash or two light soy sauce
- ½ cup finely chopped spring onion rounds
- river salt
- white pepper
Place the ginger, sugar and a tiny pinch of salt into a mortar and pestle and pound and mix until the ginger starts to look paste like. Add in the black beans and give them a rough pound too, more to incorporate everything together rather than actually pounding the beans too much. Slowly pour in the oil, stirring with the pestle as you go to combine. Set aside.
Heat a wok and throw in your pipis along with about a cup of water and cover. Give them a shake and a few minutes or so, have a quick peep and see if they are starting to open. As soon as you can see that the majority of them have popped, tip them out into a colander and let them sit ready for cooking.
Rinse your wok, place it back on a high heat and give it a moment or so to warm before adding a splash of oil. Throw in the shallot, stirring it around as you go, and then, after a minute, the chilli and a little salt. Cook for a minute or so until the eschalots have softened and are starting to caramelise.
Add the ginger, black bean and oil mix and turn the heat down to low. Give it a minute or two in your wok, stirring everything around and allowing all the flavours to release and infuse.
Add the pipis, increase the heat to high and stir.
At this stage you want to move quickly so your pipis don’t overcook. Add in the stock, season your dish with the soy and some white pepper and make sure your pipis are moving around nicely with all the wok bits.
Once you are satisfied with the flavour, add in the spring onion, give it all a final mix and then serve immediately on a large platter to be shared. Serve with rice or some fresh bread.
- New season oils are like wines and will vary according to season, where they are grown and their age. Keep this in mind when choosing your oil or a substitute and always let your own idea about flavour guide you.
- You will need a strong peppery oil for this recipe.
- Salted black beans are readily available in Asian supermarkets.
- If you can’t find young ginger substitute with normal but use half the amount given in the recipe.
- This dish is best made in a wok over a very high heat, you may have to slightly adapt according to your circumstances.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.