Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce

The other day I was tidying up my pantry and taking stock of what was there when I came across some fermented black beans. The fermented black beans are salted and fermented soybeans that are commonly used in Chinese cuisine and I had picked them up a while ago to make a number of dishes including a mapo tofu. Upon seeing them, I was reminded that just the other day I had been thinking about doing a dish with a black bean paste and I immediately thought, I wonder if I could make my own black bean paste with these? As it turns out, it is pretty easy to make your own black bean paste at home! The black bean paste consists primarily of the black beans and garlic. The fermented black beans are all dried out and hard so you simmer them in some chicken (or vegetable) broth to soften them up and then you season them with soy sauce and sugar. Finally you thicken everything up with cornstarch until it forms a paste. Of course, the first thing that I did was whip out the jar of my favourite brand of black bean paste to do a side by side comparison and I have to say that I will be making my own black bean paste from now on!

Black Bean Sauce

(makes 1/4 cup)
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons fermented black beans
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high.
2. Add the fermented black beans and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds.
3. Add the broth and simmer to reduce to half, about 2-4 minutes.
4. Mix the water and cornstarch and then mix it into the sauce along with the soy sauce and sugar and cook until it thickens, about a minute.

Use in:
Mapo Tofu
Brussels Sprouts in Black Bean Sauce
Steak and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce
Zha Jiang Mian on Spaghetti

Similar Recipes:
Sweet Chilli Sauce


Anonymous said...

It tastes better than it looks right ? lol

Kay Heritage said...

This looks yummy, Kevin! I grew up in Korea eating noodles with this type of black bean sauce. :)

Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds said...

The thought never occurred to me to make my own black bean sauce before! My family loves black bean chicken. As soon as my jar runs out, I'm going to have to try a batch! How long do you think it would last for in the fridge?

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

I want to make a simple black bean sauce but where in the world do I find fermented balck beans? There was a place in Calgary that made the absolute best black bean sauce and they no longer do it. It was very simple and so good with scallops.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Very cool, Kevin! I make several dishes with black bean paste. I will definitely have to try this.

Denise said...

I think it looks great. (I'm not a picky eater at all) Thanks!

Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

Wow great idea! I never thought to make my own. I usually have a jar laying around, so maybe I'll also have to do the Pepsi challenge!

Design Elements said...

looks yummy! have a wonderful delicous weekend :-)

Joanne said...

I KNEW I should have bought that bag of fermented black beans at whole foods yesterday! Maybe they'll still be there this week... Sounds awesome!

Anonymous said...

I haven't black bean sauce anything since going gluten-free 3 years ago and it's been a major disappointment ever since. I don't know why I hadn't thought of learning how to make it myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

Theresa said...

Try this: Soak the fermented beans for about 10 mins. then rinse, then mash with a fork. Saute garlic in oil, then add beans, then veggies (eggplant). Saute 2 mins. to coat with flavored oil. Add broth, and if you like, corn starch, red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer until soft. No need to make sauce, that's just a marketing thing.

Shelby said...

Kevin, you are such an awesome resource for those of us who love too cook! I will definitely be on the look out for fermented black beans now! lol. Thank you so much!

Kevin said...

Theresa: Excellent tip. I use that method as well fairly frequently.

Kevin said...

Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds: This will last in the fridge for a good while, at least a week.

Kevin said...

All Our Fingers in the Pie: You should be able to find the fermented black beans at a local Asian grocery store.

Ninja Annie said...

Do you use specific soy sauces for you recipes, or do you have one reliable brand/type you use consistently?

I am a little bit of a soy sauce geek and own almost 10 different kinds. Yes I am a little crazy.

Anyhoo . . . your black bean sauce looks delicious and since soy sauce plays a fairly prominent theme I was wondering what kind you used.

Kevin said...

Ninja Annie: Wow, that is a lot is soy sauce! Though, I must confess that I have at least three: Pearl River Bridge: Light, Dark and Kikkoman. I tend to use the Chinese soy sauces in Chinese recipes and the Japanese in Japanese recipes. For these black beans I use the Pearl River Bridge: Light.

I would love to hear you opinions on different soy sauces and brands!

Mary @ Fit and Fed said...

Now my curiosity is piqued, fermented black beans will be on my list next time I hit up the Asian grocery store. Other really good chefs think along the same lines as you: according to Wikipedia "most Chinese restaurant chefs prefer to use actual douchi to prepare such sauces rather than using commercially available black bean paste."

Anonymous said...

Would this be good in making korean bean paste noodles?

Kevin Lynch said...

Anonymous: You could use this in a tasty black bean pasta dish but the flavour would be different than an authentic Korean version.

Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator said...

Thanks for the inspiration, I love this taste and made a gluten-free, lower-sodium version today. Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Can MCT oil or coconut oil be used?

Can almond be used instead of the cornstarch?


Kevin Lynch said...

Anonymous: Those should both work. I have never used almond (starch?) but if it thickens things like cornstarch then it should work.

Anonymous said...

thanks, this worked perfectly, tasted exactly like the bought stuff - in fact I'd say even better.

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