Cooking With The Godmother: Laoganma Black Bean Chicken


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Laoganma Black Bean Chicken on plate

A Sichuan “Mom Recipe”

My blog is all about cooking “authentic” Sichuan food. But my definition of authentic doesn’t mean always using specific recipes, it just means cooking Sichuan food the way it would be cooked in Chengdu. So I do not feel guilty about this shortcut recipe for black bean chicken, since I know that people in Sichuan cook this way and would eat this in a heartbeat. People all over China—and increasingly the world—love Laoganma and cook with her often.

Laoganma sauces side by side
This recipe uses the Godmother’s Black Bean oil.

My ode to The Godmother—China’s Best Chili Oils and Sauces—on this blog is far and away my most popular post, so I figured that many of you might want to know what I actually cook with her. I was also inspired to write this recipe up after Epicurious put a shortcut recipe for morning buns that used packaged crescent roll dough up on their website and some fans were appalled, calling it a “mom recipe.” A writer at the site took up the cause and defended mom cooking, and so do I. Even though I cook almost entirely with non-processed foods, let’s just be real and acknowledge that all moms—or anyone responsible for putting meals on the table day in and day out—love a shortcut.

cooking onion in wok
In a home wok, it’s best to cook the ingredients separately before combining them at the end

My mom recipes often involve the Godmom. One of my easy favorites that still feels like a real Sichuan dish and pleases Fongchong’s made-in-China palate is black bean chicken. LGM’s Black Bean oil (or the Chili Oil With Black Bean variant) is a super-umami mix of preserved black soybeans and chili peppers. I mix and match whatever vegetables I have in the fridge with the chicken bits, pour in my spicy Laoganma-concocted sauce and I’m done. Thank you, Godmother, for the weeknight save.

In this version, I marry stir-fried chicken with a kind of dry-fried green bean, charred but crisp, and with sweet, caramelized white onion. Sometimes I use bell peppers. Or celery. We love celery. You could use vegetables exclusively. I usually omit the aromatics—ginger and garlic—because this is a shortcut recipe, I’m trying to save prep time, and Laoganma already packs so much flavor that you can get away without them.

Just use your own favorite ingredients and stick with the proportion of ingredients to sauce for a winning combination and a mom recipe to be proud of. You can even custom-make your own LGM-inspired Mala Chili Crisp with the kit-exclusive recipe in our DIY Mala Chili Crisp and Chili Oil Kit!

lgm stir-frying black bean chicken
A version with bell peppers and green beans

Cooking With The Godmother: Laoganma Black Bean Chicken

By: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


  • 1 pound dark meat chicken, cut in small, 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Laoganma Chili Oil with Black Bean
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces thin green beans (haricots verts), trimmed
  • 1 white onion, cut in large chunks and separated


  • Marinate chicken cubes in the Shaoxing wine and salt while you mix the sauce. Combine the Laoganma Black Bean sauce, light soy sauce, chicken broth, dark soy sauce and sugar in a bowl or measuring cup.
  • Heat wok over a high flame until wisps of heat starts to rise from it. Add 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, swirl it up the sides of the wok, and heat until quite hot. Add chicken cubes in one layer and leave undisturbed to cook and sear on one side. Flip the chicken, sear on the other side, and stir-fry until fully cooked. Remove chicken from the wok and set aside.
  • In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and parboil green beans for about 2-3 minutes, until partially cooked but still crisp. Drain and dry well.
  • Clean wok, return to flame, and add 2 tablespoons oil. When oil is hot, add green beans and stir-fry over medium-high flame until they begin to char and are done to your liking. Remove green beans and set aside.
  • Add a bit more oil to the wok, and add onion. Stir-fry until it starts to char and caramelize. Add back the green beans and chicken. Pour the sauce in and combine all ingredients well. Stir-fry briefly and splash in a bit more broth if it seems dry. Serve hot.


Free free to substitute your own favorite protein and vegetables in this recipe. Just stick with the proportion of ingredients to sauce for a winning combination.

Tried this recipe?

About Taylor Holliday

The Mala Market all began when Taylor, a former journalist, created this blog as a place to document her adventures learning to cook Sichuan food for Fongchong, her recently adopted 11-year-old daughter. They discovered through the years that the secret to making food that tastes like it would in China is using the same ingredients that are used in China. The mother-daughter team eventually began visiting Sichuan’s factories and farms together and, in 2016, opened The Mala Market, America’s source for Sichuan heritage brands and Chinese pantry essentials.

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  1. This article made me smile – my SIL is from Chengdu and the first time I helped her in the kitchen she gave me jars of Godmother chili crisp and the chili black bean to take home, telling me to add it to everything as it would make it taste good. And I do! I add it to pretty much any soup, stew, and stir fry I make. This dish was really good – I even impressed the SIL!

  2. I have the plain LGM chili crisp in oil, as well as a Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce.. how would I adapt this recipe to use this combination? I don’t want it to get too salty since the LKK and LGM both have their own salt ingredients

    1. Hi Shaf, thanks for reading! I haven’t used the Lee Kum Kee sauce, but you’re right to be wary of oversalting between the two! Another commenter above also started with bean-less Lao Gan Ma chili oil, and added beans and crushed garlic separately to great success.

      This would also be a great use for our douchi (fermented black soy beans), the same stuff that goes in the actual Lao Gan Ma black bean variations.

      Since this black bean chicken recipe calls for 2 heaping tablespoons of LGM, I’d try mixing 1 heaping tablespoon of your LGM chili crisp with 1 teaspoon at a time of your Lee Kum Kee sauce, stirring as you go and increasing the Lee Kum Kee if needed. Then, since Taylor’s notes say to stick to the ingredient:sauce ratio, I’d top off the mix with LGM as necessary. Sorry for the late response, hope this helps other readers in need of substitutions!

  3. Just cooked this today. So good. This recipe is going on my family’s favorite dishes list I am going to recommend your site to my friends. Thanks

  4. I’ve made this so many times now! The charred flavour is totally worth the smoky kitchen. The spice is perfect, and the chicken marinade made it super tender.

    1. I’m really happy to hear this! I think LGM black bean gets overshadowed by LGM chili crisp, but it’s great for cooking. Thanks for letting us know!

  5. I love making this with a few seeded, chopped jalapeños mixed in with the green beans. Also a variety using thin sliced beef, and substituting bell pepper and carrot for the green beans. I often rinse and throw in a few extra preserved black beans too.