Black bean sauce is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine, particularly Sichuan cuisine. It is a thick black sauce made with douchi, salted fermented soy beans, along with plenty of garlic and it is just packed with flavour! There are plenty of brands of black bean paste that you can buy at the store but it’s also easy to make your own! Just head down to a local Chinese grocery store and pick up some fermented black beans, they look like small shriveled up black beans coated with white dust (salt), and all you need to do is soak them in water to re-hydrate them and rinse off the excess salt. The rest of the sauce is made by lightly frying the garlic and re-hydrated beans in oil before simmering them in chicken broth to soften
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
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 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
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high.
- Add the fermented black beans and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds.
- Add the broth and simmer to reduce to half, about 2-4 minutes.
- 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.