Around the United States, you may find the famous and wonderful dish of beef with black bean sauce on the menus of Chinese and Asian American restaurants. It’s simple to prepare and uses a product about which many of you have written to us over the years: jarred black bean and garlic sauce.
While entire fermented black beans are commonly used in our cuisine, a ready-made sauce greatly simplifies the process of getting dinner on the table. Try this recipe if you’re curious about black bean sauce but don’t feel like shelling out the cash for a large bag of fermented black beans just yet.
This is one of our more adaptable recipes. This technique is adaptable, so you can use it with various meats like pig, chicken, or even pan-fried tofu, and change the seasonings to suit your family’s tastes or what you have on hand.
Black Bean Sauce is What?
Fermented black bean sauce from China adds a distinctive and delicious taste to dishes. My dad’s high school chemistry instructor said of the dish, “Either you love it or you loathe it – there is nothing in between.”
Black beans, called duch in Mandarin and dau-see in Cantonese, have a fermented taste that contributes significantly to the aforementioned description. Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce uses this sauce extensively.
Yet, we’re willing to bet that there are much more fans than detractors. Umami, the savory fifth flavor often described as the “essence of deliciousness,” is produced during the fermentation process.
Why not Just Use Whole Fermented Black Beans Instead of Using a Sauce Made From Them?
When you want to highlight the individual black bean taste in a recipe, use entire fermented black beans. Simply said, the impression is a stark one.
To balance the heavy flavors of meat and veggies, try biting into a fermented black bean for a quick hit of umami and salt.
Whole black beans are a staple ingredient in Hunan cuisine and may be found in dishes as diverse as Hunan Steamed Fish with Salted Chilies, Hunan Beef, and Hunan Pork with Tofu. Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean and Chinese Stuffed Peppers are only two examples of the dim sum dishes typical of Cantonese cuisine that use entire fermented black beans.
But, fermented black bean sauce from a jar works extremely well in some saucy recipes when you want the taste of fermented black beans better spread throughout the dish.
Sauce in a jar is easy to use, takes up little space in the fridge, and stays fresh for a long time. With just a pinch, you can give any dish a subtle but noticeable boost of umami flavor.
In order to smooth the meat:
- Steak from the flank or the chuck, 1 pound
- (cut very thinly across the grain)
- Baking soda, 1 teaspoon
- 14 cup water
- Add 2 tsp. of cornstarch
- Vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon
To complete your meal,please :
- 1 1/2 cups of beef or chicken stock (low sodium)
- Two Tablespoons of Garlic and Black Bean Sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
- Oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon
- Half a teaspoon of sugar
- Dark soy sauce, one-half teaspoon
- Sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper, ground (or to taste)
- Vegetable oil, to taste (2 teaspoons)
- 2/3 cup of onions (diced to a size manageable for cooking)
- One cup of red bell pepper, diced to a size of about 1 inch (2.5 cm)
- 1/4 teaspoon of Shaoxing wine
- One cup of snow peas (trimmed)
- Cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons (mixed into a slurry with 2 tablespoons water)
- Meat, baking soda, and water should all be combined in a medium basin. Rub the beef with your hands to help it soak up as much of the marinade as possible. Delay preparation by 1–2 hours (less time for more tender beef, or longer for a tougher cut like chuck). The meat should be washed well until the water is clear, then set aside. Drain. Before marinating, the meat is tenderized in this way.
- Next include the oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, vegetable oil, and cornstarch. Marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes, and up to a full day, in the mixture you just made.
- Stock, black bean garlic sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper should be combined in a liquid measuring cup and placed away.
- To prepare your wok, place it over high heat until light smoke appears. Coat the rim of the wok with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the beef in a single layer and brown it on both sides (this should only take 2-3 minutes). Take the meat out of the pan and turn off the heat.
- Turn the heat down to medium and throw in the remaining tablespoon of oil along with the chopped onions and bell peppers. To get a little sear on the onions and peppers, stir-fry them for 30 seconds. Deglaze the wok with the Shaoxing wine.
- Combine the sauce ingredients and stir them in. Return the meat (along with any accumulated juices) to the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Next, add the snow peas and give it a good stir.
- The contents of the wok should be heated to a simmer. To thicken the sauce to your taste, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the slurry to the sauce while continuously stirring (if the sauce is too thick, dilute it with a splash of water or stock; if it is too thin, add more slurry). Snow peas should be cooked until they are still somewhat crunchy. Steamed rice should be served right away.