Black Bean Sauce Confession

I’ve made a lot of things from scratch — pasta, cookies, cakes, pita bread, biscuits, marmalade and preserved lemons.

But one thing I often do NOT make myself is Chinese black bean sauce. Yes, I admit I do use the stuff in the jar.

I make no excuses for using the heady, handy, pungent condiment that’s always at the ready in my fridge. After all, it’s so easy to grab a tablespoon or full when I’m making a fast weeknight dish, such as “Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pork in Black Bean Sauce.”

When the lovely Bee at the wildly popular Rasa Malaysia blog invited me to do a guest stint, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share this dish that I came up with on a whim one day after coming back from the farmers’ market with arms laden with lovely little winter Brussels sprouts. Enjoy my post and recipe here.

More: Chinese-Style Brussels Sprouts with Hosin Glaze

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  • Don’t feel bad your not alone!

  • Great dish, and wonderful guest post! I love reading the stories behind your dishes… I love Brussels sprouts and am always looking for new ways of preparing them. šŸ™‚

  • I just commented on Rasa Malaysia’s blog but I just wanted to say here too that the dish looks beautiful and I’m excited to try it =)

  • Me neither… That sauce looks luscious and your dish so scrumptious!



  • Me too! My dad used to buy the fermented black beans and rinse them and do it all from scratch but why not just use the jarred stuff? It’s perfectly good and doesn’t have that weird fermented smell. Never tried it with brussels sprouts though, good idea!

  • Looks great! I’ve never made black bean sauce from scratch either šŸ™‚

  • That’s drop dead delicious sauce…nom nom nom!!

  • I love brussel sprouts and usually just glaze it with Balsamic but using black bean sauce is a fantastic idea!

  • My mom always used the black bean from the jar and that’s what I do. I don’t think it’s that much different from soaking your own beans and pound them with garlic. Maybe more pungent. I’ve tried your brussel sprouts recipe with hoisin sauce and it’s great!

  • wonderful guest post, carolyn! nothing wrong with taking a little help from the store for certain things, that’s for sure.

  • Hey Carolyn – thanks for guest posting. It’s a honor really. šŸ™‚

    I never know what to do with Brussels sprouts but your recipe is really wonderful and has all the perfect ingredients. The next time I go shopping, I am going to get them. YUMMY!

  • i don’t believe in making asian sauces if i can buy it in a jar. i mean, have you used guilin hot sauce?!? yummmm!

    i love brussel sprouts, so i’m going to have to give this a try! šŸ™‚

  • Good to know I’m not alone in taking shortcuts!

  • Carolyn: This looks so good. And honestly, I just can’t bring myself to make mayo everytime I want a sandwich so I am with you on the jarred foods. It’s the only thing I will allow myself to use. Love the blog.

  • Whew! I am so glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks well-made jarred sauces are a godsend. šŸ™‚

    And Bee (of Rasa Malaysia): Thanks so much again for the honor of being a part of your incredible blog for a day. You’re the best!

  • I love coming over to your place. I always feel like I just took a walk thru a beautiful park..on a full stomach.

  • Great guest post and it’s always good to know that culinary superstars like you sometimes use jarred sauces!!!

  • Carolyn,
    Have you tried the canned fermented black beans?

  • Tuty: No, have not tried the ones in the can. Only have tried the premade sauce in the jars, and the fermented beans in the bags. Are you a fan of the canned ones?

  • So is there a particular brand of black bean sauce that you prefer?

  • What a coincidence. I just had a great black bean dish from my childhood after visiting my folks for the new year. I wonder if you ever had it? It’s black beans dry cooked with pork belly pieces, orange peel and a handful of other ingredients that are unknown to me. My mom made me a jar to take home and I eat it with plain rice porridge. SOOO GOOD. I think I’ll make another pot of porridge to have more tomorrow. P.S. My parents never use the jarred sauce either =)

  • Lisa H.: My go-to brand is Lee Kum Kee. Easy to find in Asian markets and a lot of regular, well-stocked grocery stores, too.

    Lisa: I don’t think my parents made a dish like that. However, it sounds like something I might have had as a kid at an old-school Chinatown restaurant. Lucky you to have your parents gift you with such a precious jar of homemade goodness.

  • Carolyn,
    I’d used the canned one for porridge topping, but I haven’t tried it for cooking. I haven’t been able to find the canned fermented black beans from China.

  • I too am addicted to the stuff. Always have a jar in the fridge too!

  • I’ve done with with Chicken and Sichuan Chili Bean sauce – almost shockingly good.

    I braised the Chicken (thighs) and whole Sprouts for a bit with the chili bean paste and some chicken stock.

  • This dish looks incredible. I’ve seen all the yummy looking Brussels sprouts, but this is taking it to a new level. I cannot wait to give the black bean sauce a try, but confess a fondness for the convenience of finding the condiment I need at my local market. However time permitting, I think this is the way to go, not much beats homemade.

  • Oh, I love brussel sprouts. Chestnuts and brussel sprouts is one of my favorite xmas dishes! I look forward to it all year!

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  • Don’t feel sorry ‘coz I do the same thing, too! Can’t deny, been using the authentic Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Sauce since 2018 in Karman Foods. This has been my favorite in my vegetable dishes and even in Pork recipes.

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