Spicy black bean sauce – 3 versions (辣豆豉酱)

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms or with minced meat.

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

One of my readers tried out my recipe for Authentic Mapo tofu. Apparently she was very satisfied with the outcome. Then she asked me how to use fermented black beans to create other dishes. I suggested she could make some spicy black bean sauce (辣豆豉酱). “It’s extremely versatile! You can simply add it to many Chinese dishes.” Today I’m sharing three versions of my homemade black bean sauce: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

It’s quite common to find dishes seasoned by black bean sauce on the menu in Chinese restaurants / takeaways. There are also many types of black bean sauce available either in mainstream supermarkets or Asian shops. It’s considered to be one of the most popular sauces for Chinese cuisine. It’s aromatic, pungent, salty and slightly sweet. It also has a hint of earthy bitterness which makes it very unique in flavour. The great thing about it is that it goes well with all types of ingredients: vegetable, meat, tofu, fish and seafood. You can find it in dishes cooked in various ways : stir-fried, steamed, braised or for making dipping sauces, etc.

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

As I love cooking everything from scratch, I’m always interested in creating recipes for homemade sauces. I have three good reasons for that: 1. You know exactly what you are eating and you are free to choose healthy, good quality ingredients (no hidden ingredients, no flavouring, no additive, no preservative, no colouring, etc.). 2. Homemade sauces often taste better than shop-bought ones. And you can add your favourite ingredients to make it unique. 3. It’s fun to make it (Don’t you love the sense of achievement?) and believe me, it’s easier than you would imagine to make scrumptious Chinese sauces.

Three main ingredients are usually found in black bean sauce: fermented black beans (aka black beans, 豆豉), garlic and soy sauce. I like adding a few more ingredients to enrich  its flavour.

  1. Season the cooking oil with spring onion, ginger and Sichuan pepper (optional) before frying the other ingredients.
  2. Add Shaoxing rice wine, pure sesame oil to give the flavour another dimension.
  3. Spice it up with fresh chilli, both for making it pleasantly hot and for adding a bit of bright colour to this dark sauce.

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

Apart from my classic version of black bean sauce, I’m very pleased to introduce another two versions. The first one is vegetarian / vegan friendly: fry some finely chopped shiitake mushroom before cooking the black beans. The second one is for those who fancy a bit of meaty taste: add minced beef / pork instead of mushrooms.

As you can see in the photo above, I cooked three dishes to demonstrate how you might  use my three versions of homemade black bean sauce:

  1. Braised spare ribs with classic black bean sauce.
  2. Stir-fried celery with mushroom black bean sauce
  3. Rice noodles and blanched pak choi with minced meat black bean sauce

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

They are just examples of black bean sauce’s usage. You are free to create your own scrumptious recipes with this versatile seasoning. Be bold with ingredients and cooking methods.  I highly recommend you to make this sauce in advance then store in the fridge (see tips in the recipe). When it’s dinner time, just scoop some out  and add to the dish you are cooking. If you are not planning to cook, simply use it as a spread on bread / Chinese steam buns or as a sandwich / taco dressing.

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms or with minced meat.

Spicy black bean sauce—three versions (辣豆豉酱)
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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Spicy black bean sauce—three versions (辣豆豉酱)

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms or with minced meat.

Ingredients

    For classic version
  • 70g / 0.5 cup fermented black beans (aka black beans)
  • 100ml / 0.5 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk spring onion, cut into 4 sections
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chilli, finely chopped (see note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • For mushroom version
  • All the ingredients for the basic version
  • 6-7 large dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely chopped
  • For meat version
  • All the ingredients for the basic version
  • 120g / 1 cup minced beef or pork

Instructions

  1. Rinse the black beans under running water. Dry them very well with kitchen paper. Them coarsely chop them into small pieces (see note 1).
  2. Place spring onion, ginger and Sichuan peppercorn (if using) in a wok (or a frying pan). Pour in the oil then heat up on a medium heat.
  3. When the spring onion and ginger become lightly brown, pick them out along with the Sichuan peppercorn and discard.
  4. For classic version only: Add all the other ingredients into the oil. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. For mushroom / meat version only: Put mushroom / meat into the oil, then fry until it turns lightly brown. Add all the other ingredients. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes (see note 3).
  6. You can use the sauce straightaway or transfer it to an airtight jar when it’s completely cool. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks for the basic version and 1 week for mushroom or meat version. Scoop out the sauce with a dry clean spoon (see note 4).

Notes

1. If you prefer a smoother texture, instead of roughly chopping the rinsed black beans, you can mince them in a food processor prior to cooking.

2. Choose the type of chilli that suits your taste. In general the hotness of the chilli will reduce when it’s cooked. You may substitute fresh chilli with chilli powder (about 1 tablespoon for this recipe).

3. If you are going to store the meat version of the sauce for later use, please make sure to fry the mined meat until crispy before adding other ingredients. This is to completely remove the water in the meat in order to prolong its fridge life.

4. How to use the sauce: It can be used in stir-fries, in stews, in steamed dishes, as a topping for noodles, or simply as a spread on bread, steamed buns, etc. Since the sauce is quite salty, you normally don’t need to add extra salt to the dish.

https://redhousespice.com/spicy-black-bean-sauce/

Thank you for taking your time to read my post. I hope it encourages you to make some. Tell me what are your favourite dishes with black bean sauce found in Chinese restaurants / takeaway. I will write recipes for you to make them in your own kitchen.

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Recipe using black bean sauce:

Braised spare ribs with black bean sauce (豆豉炖排骨)

Another versatile condiment:

How to make & use spring onion oil (葱油)

Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms or with minced meat.
Popular, versatile Chinese black bean sauce can be easily made at home. I have three versions to share: classic, with mushrooms and with minced meat.

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