Oriental Black Bean Sauce

"Posted by request. Oriental Black Bean Sauce is a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes. The black beans in this sauce are actually soy beans which have been allowed to mature and ferment, creating a complex mix of flavours. They are easily obtained from Chinese supermarkets. Black bean sauce teams well with stir-fried beef or chicken, and any combination of vegetables such as bok choy, asparagus, baby corn, carrot, celery, mushrooms, snow peas, small sprigs of cauliflower and/or broccoli, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and so on. Be warned, it does have a rather high salt content, so there is little need to add salt either to the sauce or the finished dish. Unless stored in the freezer, this sauce should be refrigerated and used within a few days of making. Preparation time includes soaking the beans for 30 minutes."
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Ready In:
3/4 cup




  • Drain the tinned beans, then place in a bowl, cover with fresh cold water and soak 30 minutes.
  • Rinse well in a colander under cold running water, drain, then lightly mash with a fork on a wooden board.
  • Heat the oil in a small pan, add the onions, red pepper, ginger, garlic and chili pepper (if used), and saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions have just softened.
  • Add the fermented black beans, and mash them lightly with the back of a wooden spoon while stirring them in.
  • Add the Asian chili sauce (in place of the chili pepper if wished), mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar and stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Taste, and add the brown sugar (if desired), then the cornflour mixed with a little water, and cook briefly until the sauce has just thickened.
  • When ready to serve, add the sauce to four cups of lightly stir-fried vegetables (as suggested above), along with some sauteed beef or chicken strips if desired.
  • Toss and heat through in a wok, and serve over steamed rice or coooked noodles.
  • If you wish, garnish the finished dish with crispy fried noodles, chopped fresh cilantro, or roasted cashew nuts.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Serah B.
    We found this amazingly flavorful. Very full-bodied, complex sauce. We served it immediately over roasted pumpkin and rice, and it was outstanding. I did not use yogurt.
  2. federico
    I was really excited to try this dish after having a delicious asian black bean sauce at a local Chinese resturaunt. That sauce was rich and complex, but there was definately something lacking from this one. I made the sauce the night before, and chilled overnight to let the flavors develop, but in the end, the sauce was slightly bland and bitter.


I was raised in a family that loves to travel, meet people from other countries, and taste new foods. We are quite 'international' - my brother's wife is Indian, my sister's husband is Swiss and my DS's GF is of Swedish origin. My little dogs are of German origin - miniature dachshunds :-) - and my DH is an NZer. Presently my favourite cookbook is Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey, but that is liable to change as I often raid my library for new and interesting cookbooks.
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