Sometimes, I am so creative, I amaze myself.
Who knew that hoisin sauce would go so well with olive tapenade?! My Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade, which is described as 'a chunky mix of olives, tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, and lemon juice', always reminded me of the Chinese pickled vegetable that we call "Za-sai" (搾菜）;in Japan. I have no idea what the Chinese name is for these pickled vegetables are, but I have seen them in the markets in Chinatown in Oakland. They look like some kind of root vegetable or giant brussels sprout, marinated and pickled in red pepper sauce.
I figured that if my olive tapenade reminded me of zasai, it must go well in a Chinese-themed dish. I tested this hypothesis a few days ago when I was too tired to worry about failure... I mixed 2/3 parts olive tapenade with 1/3 part hoisin sauce and mixed that in as the seasoning for my sliced up chicken thigh meat. I finished the dish with some fresh basil and sesame seeds...
Amazingly, this was really good! And the olive tapenade tasted even more like zasai in this dish!!! Slightly sweet with a tangy pickled flavors coating the tender thigh meat that released satisfying juices with each bite, I couldn't believe it myself. Who ever knew that olive tapenade would go so well with hoisin sauce?!
Five minutes in the kitchen with rewards good enough to trick the Papa Bear into thinking he was eating real Chinese food!