Homemade Black Bean Sauce

4.96 from 25 votes
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This is one of the most versatile Chinese sauces that goes well with almost any ingredients, and is also suitable for stir frying, baking, grilling, and steaming.

One of the most versatile Chinese sauces that goes well with almost any ingredients, and suitable for stir frying, baking, grilling, and steaming. {GF, paleo, vegan}

I recommend that everyone who loves Chinese food have a jar of pre-made black bean sauce in their fridge. Here are the reasons:

  • The sauce is extremely versatile. You can view it as soy sauce alternative, only more flavorful.
  • The sauce is healthier than many other Chinese sauces because it contains less sugar.
  • The sauce has a bit of thickening powder by itself, so you don’t always need to use extra cornstarch to thicken the sauce. One more prep step eliminated!
  • Not only can you make stir-fried dishes with it, you can also use it to bake or steam food, marinate meat, or serve it as dipping sauce or noodle salad dressing.

Sound amazing?

Introducing Homemade Black Bean Sauce

Yes, you can buy bottled black bean sauce from the grocery store, but the homemade version contains more fresh aromatics, does not use additional starch to thicken the sauce, and contains no additives. I always suggest that you make your own for a more delicious and healthier option.

Basic ingredient – fermented black beans

The most important ingredient is fermented black bean. It has a deep umami flavor that is similar to soy sauce, but different in flavor and even richer. This is the base of the sauce.

Fermented Black Beans | omnivorescookbook.com

Thanks to almighty Amazon, you can even purchase the fermented black beans online without a trip to grocery store. However, if there is an Asian market nearby, I highly recommend you to get your ingredients there because it will be way cheaper. These black beans can stay in your fridge forever, so you can store them if you don’t have time to use them immediately.

Fermented Black Beans | omnivorescookbook.com

Once you get the fermented black beans, the rest of the ingredients are quite easy to find and it’s more likely that you will already have them at home.

How to prep fermented black beans

(1) To use the fermented black beans, always rinse them with water and drain before using, so they won’t be too salty. Plus, the water will soften them to make the chopping.

(2) I always chop the beans on a cutting board so I can control the texture. I like my bean paste a bit coarse, with bits of black bean chunks to add texture. You can do this step in a food processor as well.

Homemade Black Bean Sauce Cooking Process

*Tip on peeling garlic faster: Lightly crush it with your chef’s knife by holding it with one hand, and press the flat side with the palm of your other hand. After this simple procedure, you only need 2 seconds to peel a clove.

Once you get all the ingredients ready, slowly roast them in a skillet. It will take 20 to 30 minutes. Please be patient and use low heat, so you won’t burn anything.

The sauce will be ready to use once it’s cooked, but it gets better after storing it for a few days.

Homemade Black Bean Sauce Cooking Process

How to use homemade black bean sauce

You can use the sauce for cooking, as a marinade, a dipping sauce, or you can use it to make noodle salad. The sauce uses oil to cover the rest of the ingredients, so it will be preserved for longer time in the fridge. To use the sauce, simply scoop out the portion you need with a bit of oil. The sauce has some thickening power from the bean starch, so it’s not always necessary to add cornstarch slurry like other stir fry sauces.

One of the most versatile Chinese sauces that goes well with almost any ingredients, and suitable for stir frying, baking, grilling, and steaming. {GF, paleo, vegan}

Assuming that you are going to cook 2 servings – you will need about 450 grams (1 pound) protein, or 6 to 8 cups vegetables, or 220 grams (1/2 pound) protein and 3 cups vegetables. You will need 3 to 4 tablespoons sauce.

(1) Pick 1 to 2 aromatics. Prep according to the list below. (Optional)

Since the black bean sauce contains aromatics already, you can skip this step when you’re in a hurry. However, if you have time, some extra aromatic ingredients will always make the dish taste better.

Recommended aromatics

  • Ginger – 1 large piece minced (yields 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon)
  • Green onion – 2 to 3 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • Dried chili pepper – 2 to 4 peppers, torn into 3 to 4 pieces. (Or, keep whole for less spiciness.)
  • Sichuan peppercorns – 1 to 2 teaspoons. Use it to infuse the hot oil, then discard them before adding other ingredients. (See this recipe to learn how to use them.)
  • Shallot or onion – 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, thinly sliced or diced

(2) Choose and cut the protein.

Recommended Protein

  • Beef (flank steak or short ribs) – Thinly sliced (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick), or cut to strips for stir fry.
  • Chicken (skinless boneless breast or thigh) – Diced to 1-inch pieces, or sliced to 1/4-inch thick pieces for stir fry. Use whole pieces for grilling or baking.
  • Pork (tenderloin or loin) – Thinly sliced (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick), or cut to strips for stir fry. Use larger cuts, such as pork chops, for baking, pan searing, or grilling.
  • Shrimps – Peeled and deveined for stir fry or grilling.
  • Fish fillet – Grilled, baked, or steamed with the sauce.
  • Tofu (firm or extra firm) – Diced to 1/2 to 2/3 inch pieces for stir fry or braising.
A one-pot dinner that you can get ready in 30 minutes. {paleo friendly, GF}

(3) Marinate and prep the protein.

For each pound of meat or seafood (for stir fry), mix with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or peanut oil), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Let it marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. Skip this step if you’re using the sauce to bake, grill, or pan fry.

For tofu (for stir fry), marinate with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon syrup (or honey) for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and coat with a thin layer of cornstarch. See this post to learn how to cook crispy tofu without deep-frying. Skip this step if you use the sauce (and stock) to braise tofu.

(4) Cut and prep the vegetables.

To make a quick dinner, my favorite method is to only use one type of vegetable. You can use two, but no more.

Recommended vegetables

  • Asparagus – Chopped to 1-inch pieces
  • Baby bok choy – Tear off large leaves and halve lengthwise, halve or quarter the rest.
  • Bamboo shoots – Sliced
  • Bell peppers – Sliced or chopped
  • Broccoli (fresh) – Divide to small florets; steam or blanch. (See this post to learn how to blanch the broccoli quickly in the same stir fry pan).
  • Broccoli (frozen) – Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the quantity), so the broccoli is thawed and luke warm, but not heated up.
  • Brussels sprouts – Halved and roasted (See this post for how to roast Brussels sprouts).
  • Cabbage (green and red) – Coarsely chopped
  • Cauliflower (fresh) – Divide to small florets; steam, blanch, or roast.
  • Cauliflower (frozen) – Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (for stir fry), or roast (see this post to learn how to crisp up frozen cauliflowers in the oven).
  • Carrot – Sliced into pieces or strips (by using a julienne peeler); or cut to chunk and roast.
  • Celery – Sliced or diced
  • Eggplant – Sliced. (See this post to learn how to prep eggplant so it crisps up during stir frying.)
  • Green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • Kale – Stalk chopped to small pieces, leaves coarsely chopped
  • Mustard greens – Chopped
  • Mushrooms – Sliced or quartered
  • Okra – Sliced
  • Onion – Sliced
  • Spinach – Roughly chopped for larger spinach. No need to chop baby spinach.
  • Snow pea
  • Zucchini – Seeded and sliced

(5) Make the stir fry, or use the stir fry sauce for baking, grilling, or steaming

Read this post to learn the basic steps of making Chinese stir fry.

To learn how to use Black Bean Sauce now, go to:

One of the most versatile Chinese sauces that goes well with almost any ingredients, and suitable for stir frying, baking, grilling, and steaming. {GF, paleo, vegan}

More Chinese sauce recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Homemade Black Bean Sauce

4.96 from 25 votes
This is one of the most versatile Chinese sauces that go well with almost any ingredients, and is also suitable for stir frying, baking, grilling, and steaming.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1 cup fermented black beans
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 white onion , minced
  • 4 to 6 dried chili peppers , torn to small pieces (*Footnote 1)
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry, or Japanese sake) (*Footnote 2)
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free option)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 head garlic (8 to 10 big cloves, minced (*Footnote 3)
  • 1 thumb ginger , minced (*Footnote 4)


  • Rinse fermented black beans with tap water, drain, and coarsely chop them. I like to leave some bigger pieces of the beans, to give the sauce more texture.
  • (Optional) You can use a food processor to mince all the ingredients. Add black beans, onion, and garlic into a food processor. Blend until both ingredients are minced, but not a fine paste.
  • Heat oil and dried chili peppers in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Turn to medium low heat. Cook until the chili peppers turn dark, but not black. Stir occasionally. Scoop out the chili peppers and discard them.
  • Add the black beans and onion. Cook and stir, until the sauce looks a bit dry. (The beans will absorb oil at first, but release the oil once they’re cooked.)
  • Add Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, and sugar. Simmer and stir until the onion turns tender. It takes about 10 minutes or so. The sauce can be easily burned, so make sure to keep the heat low and stir the sauce constantly to ensure even cooking.
  • Add garlic and ginger (if you’re using these ingredients). Continue to cook and stir the sauce until the onion turns very tender. You should see oil floating on top of the sauce.
  • Transfer the sauce to a large bowl to cool off completely.
  • Store the sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for 2 weeks to a month.


1. Unless you use very powerful chili peppers (such as Thai chili peppers), the sauce won’t become spicy. I only use this step to infuse more aroma to the sauce. I used Chinese dried chili peppers in this recipe, but Korean and Mexican dried chili peppers work too. If you do want a spicy sauce, consider blending in homemade chili oil to the cooked sauce, or add cayenne powder during cooking.
2. If you do not want alcohol in the sauce, you can skip this ingredient. I would not recommend using stock here because it shortens the shelf life. However, you can use 2 to 3 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder if you want to add extra flavor to the sauce.
3. You can use a garlic press to mince garlic faster.
4. Ginger is not a must-have ingredient, but if you happen to have it on hand, definitely use it. It adds nice aroma to the sauce.
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Peggy says:

    How long will the black bean sauce last in the refrigerator?

    • RossC says:

      The recipe states 2 weeks to a month… :O)

  2. RossC says:

    5 stars
    Another fascinating sauce recipe… I love using black bean sauce and, of course, had no idea I could make my own..
    Thank you… :O)

    • Maggie says:

      You’re the most welcome! Making black bean sauce is super easy as long as you can find fermented black bean. They stay good for quite a long time so I always keep a jar in my fridge 🙂

  3. Wes says:

    5 stars
    Just made this and I’m afraid I’ll eat it all with a spoon.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Wes, I’m glad to hear you like the sauce! I use it on almost everything. It makes a stir fry so much easier 🙂

  4. Kevin says:

    5 stars
    Maggie, I just found this recipe and after trying many others it’s THIS one that brings the real deal!!! Love that there’s no cornstarch and no stock. It looks, smells, and tastes AMAZING!!! I used a thumb of ginger as well throwing in the 6 dried chilis in the oil until blackened then removed. I can’t imagine this without either as they really add to the aroma, flavor, complexity and umami your recipe brings.

    It’s my now and forever go to black bean paste, thank you SO much for sharing, you are obviously have brilliant culinary taste and will be looking for more of your recipes!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Kevin, I’m so glad to hear you like this recipe! It’s one of my favorite Chinese sauces and I always have it in the fridge. Have you tried using it to cook stir fried ground beef and celery? It’s so simple and GOOD!
      I don’t use cornstarch in this one because the beans thicken the sauce naturally. And no stock, since it shorten shelf life. I LOVE the idea of adding extra ginger and infuse the oil with chili pepper’s aroma. I’ll need to try it out soon. Actually there is another sauce – chili oil black bean sauce. It is a bit spicier than the one you described, but very tasty too!
      Thanks so much for your kind words! Can’t wait to hear more about what you cook the next 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

  5. Brentt says:

    This recipe is easy and I prefer this homemade recipe than the ones sold in the market. I almost ate the sauce with rice too. It’s just that delicious.. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  6. Peter Fitzy says:

    5 stars
    I had a need to ‘chef it’ this afternoon. My father in law is a big fan of steak black bean sauce so I gave it a crack.
    I followed the recipe fairly closely including the optional ginger. Yes, a must. I wish I had added more. (next time)
    As well as the chilli oil I also added additional chilli (finely chopped) When the sauce thickened more dry sherry was added.
    I feel accomplished – the family gave it two thumbs up.
    Thank you for publishing this delicious recipe.

  7. Chit says:

    Wow Maggie! I was just in the supermarket and holding on to a bottle of garlic bean sauce and I thought how expensive! So I grabbed instead a can of salted black beans in can which was about maybe 4 times cheaper! And wow! Then. Came across your recipe!!! Viola! So good! Oh you are my favorite! Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Chit, yes it is way cheaper to buy salted black beans. Even better, the homemade black bean sauce tastes 4 times better than the bottled sauce! Happy cooking and can’t wait to hear how your sauce turns out 🙂

    • Lisa M says:

      Hi, Maggie
      CHIT says he bought a ‘can of salted black beans ‘ and used that to make the sauce. That’s not the same thing as using fermented black beans, is it? So, you have to use ‘fermented black beans’; not just a can of salted black beans, correct? Thanks. Lisa

      • Maggie says:

        Hi Lisa, yes, you need to use the fermented black beans. A can of regular black beans won’t work.

  8. Robin Jones says:


    I am fortunate enough to travel to China often and I love the local food and street foods. I have a traditional Chinese cook (in Beijing) who gives me lessons and your food is exactly like hers. We haven’t done the black bean sauce but I made it this morning from your recipe and it is AMAZING! I can’t wait to make a dish tonight. Thank you so much for your blog and recipes! For a girl in New Mexico, my house always smells more like a Chinese kitchen than anything else! =0} Love your recipes.

    • Maggie says:

      You’re so lucky Robin! I wish I had a Chinese cook who can teach me more dishes and recipes 😉 I’m glad to hear you like the black bean sauce! What dish did you end up cooking? I hope it turned out well 🙂

      • Robin jones says:

        I am blessed! My instructor lives in a traditional hutong and it’s so wonderful to cook with her! I learned after an 8 hr intensive hand pulled noodle day that I am not nearly as talented as I thought! ?I made the black bean chicken, it was wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing as you do!

      • Maggie says:

        Wow, 8 hours of noodle pulling sounds exhausting! I bet the noodles you made tasted awesome 🙂
        Thanks for taking the time to report back and I’m glad to hear the black bean chicken turned out well!
        Hope you have an amazing week ahead Robin!

  9. Zoe Gascoigne says:

    Is this freezable?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Zoe, this sauce is freezable. You can also store it in the fridge for a relatively long time. I’ve stored mine for about a month without any problem.

  10. Debra says:

    5 stars
    Hi Maggie, I live in Lancashire England, My daughter absolutely loves beef and blackbean sauce but only from the Chinese takeaways! she says the jars of blackbean don’t taste the same. She costs me a fortune every week xxx I shall be trying this recipe and hope to save some money. xxxxx

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Debra, I think store bought black bean sauce does not use enough aromatics, so it’s not as fragrant as the ones from the restaurant dish. I used tons of goodies in this one and hopefully it lives up to your daughter’s standard 🙂 Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out!

  11. Marlese Rosch Haden says:

    once the paste is made, do i add its to food or how do u then make the sauce…sorry stupid question

  12. Heidi says:

    I was hoping to learn how to make my own fermented black beans.

    In your article you state that home made is better but don’t explain how it’s done, so I assume you can’t tell us.

  13. Susan says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I have a question , though. The recipe says that you can use a food processor if you wish, and says to put the black beans, garlic, and onion in the processor (together, presumably.) But later, the recipe says to add the garlic and ginger (if using ginger). So this suggests that the garlic is added later rather than earlier to cook with the black beans. I am confused about this. For now, I’ve separated the garlic from the black beans and will add it later, but I’m not sure if this is right.

  14. Sam says:

    Dear Maggie, thank you for your work. I tried the recipe, with onion, ginger, peppers, and everything, and it came out rather good. I just wander how would you feel about leaving the onion out? Perhaps the onion is the most “perishable” ingredient in this excellent recipe? Not asserting, just asking. ( :

  15. Pat says:

    I am making 2nd batch now, and thank you for this recipe.
    Now….. on to our Hoisin Sauce recipe

  16. Traci says:

    5 stars
    YES! I love to order black bean anything for takeout, and at home, I’ve been using packaged BB sauce. It works, but I want the real deal and thought “I knowwww who probably has a gorgeous recipe”. Low and behold, you do! I cannot even WAIT to pick up some fermented black beans and make my own. So, thank you, Maggie! 🙂

  17. Boelo Meijer says:

    5 stars
    I am not that familiar with Chinese cooking and to be honest, I am not that mad on take away Chinese. I find it all sort of tastes the same (I live in Australia). But I do a lot of stir frying (Thai orientateted). And I like to try out new things.
    I always used the bought sauces, but for a long time it has been in my head to make my own black bean sauce. Found your recipe and made it yesterday. And wow, did it taste good! What a world of difference with store bought ones.
    Used it last night for dinner. Made your chicken stir fry in black bean sauce. I added some snow peas and broccolini from my veggie patch. And again: Wow!
    Subscribed to your mailing list and I will hopefully try out more of your recipes (somehow the one with steamed fish with black bean sauce is hanging in my head………next one to try….?)
    I enjoy the way you write and talk about it all. Thank you.

  18. Varsa Kalyan says:

    Hi I have made the sauce but it has become bit bitter. What is the reason for that.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Varsa, if the sauce turns bitter, you might have overcooked the fermented beans.

  19. Anthony Nerino says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best!

  20. Karen Ryan says:

    Hi Maggie, I look forward to making the Black Bean sauce. but didn’t see how much chili is used in the recipe. I see it in the photo only.
    “Heat oil and dried chili peppers in a saucepan over medium heat until warm.” Is that about a 1/2 cup? The chillis weren’t listed in the Ingredients list.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Karen, so sorry about this! I just added the information to the recipe. It’s only 5 to 6 peppers, torn apart.

  21. Brent says:

    This looks wonderful! I see the recipe calls for heating chile peppers in oil, and in the Note you refer to Thai chiles, but how many? And are there alternatives? My grocer has lots of Mexican peppers — would Japones work?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Brent, you can totally use dried Mexican peppers (5 to 6). Sorry if the recipe wording is confusing. I actually called mild dried chili peppers (not Thai chili). I just slightly edited the recipes.

  22. Lily says:

    Can we use this in jajangmeon?

  23. Bittu thapa says:

    Vry vry nice

  24. Wendy Allott says:

    Hi. My sauce didn’t turn out as black as yours. But, I did leave out the chili. Is that why?

    • Maggie says:

      I don’t think it’s the chili that’s causing the issue. The main ingredient in this recipe is fermented black beans, which are black. The color of the sauce should turn out black as the fermented beans.

      • Wendy Allott says:

        5 stars
        I’ve just realised, I don’t think my black beans were fermented, I think they were just beans. It still tasted delicious. My kids even loved it and they’re fussy.

  25. Angela McCall says:

    5 stars
    My husband is Celiac so I put in gf soy sauce this was the first time we have had black bean sauce in five years was brilliant wish I found this recipe sooner .

  26. Rhonda says:

    5 stars
    Hi Maggie,
    Made this yesterday to use as a dipping sause with your salt and pepper chicken, it is heavenly! When I saw this recipe, I couldnt order those fermented soy beans fast enough! We dont have a local store that carries this. Seems like the only restaurant around here that had this was P.F.Changs, and they were always stingy with the amount that you got! Now I have all I want, and its much better than what they serve. Cant wait to have some for lunch! Thinking up other uses for the next 30 days since hubby doesnt care for it, so its all mine, mine I tell you!!

  27. Tristian says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for this, this is exactly what I needed.. I have made a batch for my stir fry needs and now this is my go to base for any barbecues, weekly stir fry’s. I will never buy bottle sauce again!

  28. Casey says:

    5 stars
    Brilliant recipe! Simple, but full of flavour.

  29. Kathi says:

    5 stars
    I Love, love, love this recipe! I make a full recipe and have much left over. The next time I make a stir fry, I use some of this sauce. Its easy and delicious! It lasts a long time in an airtight container in the fridge too.

  30. Ethan Boatner says:

    But I want to know how to ferment the dried beans themselves. These recipe look great, but say “add the fermented beans.” Did I miss that part, or, how can I find out how to ferment my sack of dried beans? Thanks!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Ethan, these Chinese fermented black beans are quite special – the soy beans are boiled and then fermented in a solution for a year to create the special taste. I don’t think it’s something you can make at home. You can easily purchase them on Amazon (http://amzn.to/1PM90DG) or in an Asian grocery store.

  31. Gordon Szeto says:

    5 stars
    I have fond memories of a restaurant that my family always went to since I was born. One of their best dishes and one that has always been on my mind is their black bean chicken dish. Sadly they are no longer in business and I have been wanting to make black bean chicken for so long! i finally decided to and while researching I came across your recipe for the sauce. It was delicious! I am not sure if my dish lived up to my memory (haha does anything?) but I think it was pretty close. Either way it was fantastic! Thank you!

  32. Kerrie says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I read on another blog that Fermented soybean sauce can be used as a substitute for doubanjiang in MaPo sauce in a pinch. The recommendation was to add chile. Do you think this would work?

    • Maggie says:

      I Kerrie, I’m pretty sure it will work. Both has a fermented taste and should work great with tofu. If you have homemade chili oil, you can scoop a tablespoon of the chili flake from it, and add more chili oil to the mapo tofu along with the black bean sauce. It should be super delicious!
      Here is the chili oil recipe: http://omnivorescookbook.com/how-to-make-chili-oil/

  33. Christi says:

    Hi Maggie!
    I LOVE your site! It has become my go-to for Chinese recipes.
    Do you have any recommendations for a sugar substitute? I have been able to successfully use substitutes like Stevia in some recipes but for this one I’m wondering if replacing the sugar it will ruin the consistency of the sauce.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Christi, I think it should be fine to replace the sugar. The fermented black beans are quite starchy, so the sauce will thicken eventually.
      If you use stevia, be carefully of the amount. Maybe add less at the beginning and taste the sauce as you go. It is a salty sauce and the sugar should be on the background and add richness.

  34. Shreena says:

    Hi Maggie

    I’ve just stumbled across this recipe and it sounds fantastic.

    I’m vegetarian and would be interested in using it for a tofu in black bean sauce. I had a look at your stir fried chicken with black bean sauce recipe and noticed it uses oyster sauce and sake.

    Is there an alcohol free and vegetarian alternative to making It so I can enjoy a delicious tofu black bean Sauce? Xxx

  35. Queenie says:

    5 stars
    Hi there, I have been looking for a way to make Korean jajangmyeon but live in an area without Asian stores. I LOVE black beans and grew up eating them in just about everything when growing up in NYC’s Chinatown. I have never heard of jajangmyeon until recently and it looks so good I want to make it. But I wonder if this sauce is the same as what would be considered jajang sauce? I have a massive jar of fermented black beans in my fridge.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Queenie, this sauce is different from the jajang sauce I’m familiar with but taste close. I think the Korean version uses different approach so if a recipe uses black bean sauce, you can definitely use this recipe.
      I grew up eating Northern Chinese jajang noodles and I have a recipe for it: http://omnivorescookbook.com/homemade-zha-jiang-mian-fried-sauce-noodles/
      I’d love to look into replacing the traditional tian mian jiang (fried sauce noodles) with this one but I’m afraid I don’t have a recipe now.

  36. Didina Gnagnide Angorinie says:

    Hi, I really appreciate your site. About this sauce I have two questions:
    1)do you think it could be made (and still be flavorful) without any alliums (onion, garlic, scallions, etc)?
    2)is there an alternative to fermented black soybeans that does not contain high amounts of phytoestrogens?

    Both questions are due to my dietary requirements 😭

  37. Matt says:

    5 stars
    Just made this sauce and it’s amazing!! Great flavor and just the right amount of heat. I used all the ingredients and would likely go heavier on the ginger next time. Can’t wait to try it on some dishes soon.

    Mine came out a bit on the salty side to the point that I am not sure how much I can use in each “serving”. Is there a way to reduce the saltiness of the beans? I rinsed them beforehand for a minute of so prior to chopping. Thoughts?

  38. fsg says:

    I will be making it soon, ,
    recipe and preamble has me itching to begin immediately
    : – )

  39. NancyL says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!

  40. Kate Shilling says:

    Hi Maggie! Fermented black beans have been on my list for my next Chinatown shopping expedition. Do you have a favorite grocery store in Chinatown here in NYC that you recommend? I’ve been to a few and always love exploring the ingredients!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Kate, I would go to Hong Kong market if I want to grab something real quick. It’s very big and is usually well stocked, so you can get almost everything. It has a good size produce section too but the vegetables are not the freshest. I like to walk through Grant Street, where you can find many outdoor vendors who has much better vegetables. I think one of them is called Ken Hing Food Market that has fresh produce (I googled it although I’m not sure it’s the one because I usually just walk by and never remember the exact location). Btw I have an article of Chinese greens in case you want to try out a different produce: https://omnivorescookbook.com/chinese-greens/
      Our favorite vegan dim sum spot is Buddha Bodai, and the Chinese spot is Deluxe Green Bo. Last week I walked by Chinatown, I saw many dim sum shops have opened outdoor seating. It can be fun to enjoy some dim sum there if you don’t mind the crowd.
      Not Chinese but Tomiño Taberna Gallega is our favorite Spanish tapas spot (between Chinatown and Little Italy). The food is SO GOOD (best Spanish omelete, it has runny eggs inside). They have two outdoor tables so if you want some booze and small bites, it’s perfect.

  41. Starr says:

    5 stars
    I love the flavor of this sauce, but mine came out quite dry. Should I add more oil (in the storage jar) to make it look like your photo?


    • Maggie says:

      Yeah, adding more oil definitely helps! Depending on the cooking time, the black beans might have absorbed more oil. You can add more after cooking as well. A thin layer on top will help preserve the sauce for a longer time.

  42. Avishi says:

    How to ferment the black beans? Or do we have to buy it.

  43. Ken Savage says:

    Dear Maggie,
    I’m learning to cook Chinese dishes at home and am enjoying your recipes. I’d like to make the black bean sauce but worry that the amount it makes won’t be used before the 2 weeks – month safe storage time elapses. I suppose I can cut the recipe in half but I wonder if the sauce can be frozen? Also, would Sichuan chile pepper work to give the sauce a little heat? Thank you for this terrific web site.

    • Maggie says:

      The sauce can actually stay well in the fridge for pretty long time, but I usually give a period of time that’s rather conservative. Sometimes I store mine for 1 to 2 weeks without any problems. That being said, you can definitely freeze this sauce. It’s freezer friendly.
      Yes, you can definitely add some chili pepper to add heat. It will taste delicious.

      • Ken Savage says:

        Thank you so much. I’m amazed that you responded so quickly and appreciate it very much. I’ll give it a try.

  44. Gregory Crawford says:

    5 stars
    Fabulous! I made the sauce and then added it to a general vegetarian stir-fry and it was terrific. Thank you!

  45. Mark says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe, I will definitely make again. I served with a turkey breast stirfry and added some sesame seeds, but thinking some cashews would work really well with this. Next time.

  46. 2HotnAZ says:

    4 stars
    Hi, Maggie! I made this sauce last weekend and it turned out pretty well. I used Arbol chilies. My only complaint is that it was a little too sweet for my palate; I prefer savory unami.
    Also, can you suggest any Asian spices/sauces that don’t use MSG?

  47. J says:

    Hi Maggie, love your site and your recipes. Due to a recent medical condition, I need to go low-sodium. Do you think I can substitute the soy and sugar combination for for coconut aminos instead?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I’ve heard many people using coconut aminos to replace soy sauce and water, but I personally don’t like it.
      The aminos tastes so sweet and does not have the depth of flavor that regular soy sauce does.
      If you can find it, I like Yamasa’s less salt (reduced sodium) soy sauce. Its sodium content is about half of regular soy sauce (but still double the sodium content of coconut aminos). If it’s still too much sodium, I guess coconut aminos might be the only option.

  48. Kathy says:

    Wow. The SCRUMPTIOUS sauce is still on the stove for last cooking. I fermented the beans myself (very easy4- day process. Not being satisfied with my rough chop of the beans, I used a potato masher to break them up further as they cooked. Further I used the chili oil recipe from this site for the oil! so it is a bit hot…but also with a sweet tang. Thank you so much! The only thing I found a bit difficult was guessing as to the amount of time for each step…that information would be most helpful, as I am a complete newbie to this sauce….

  49. Renita says:

    5 stars
    It tastes great! i have a question. After i made this, the amount of oil doesn’t look the same as in your picture. Should i top up with some shallots oil in the jar?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      Depending on the fermented black bean you use and your stove strength, the beans might have absorbed more oil. It’s not a problem for the taste of the sauce. But if you plan to preserve it for a longer time, a thin layer of oil on top of the sauce will help a lot!

  50. Dan says:

    Inches ?
    The rest of the world uses metric, they dumped imperial measures some 50 years ago (half a century !). Not only is America the only nation on the planet to refuse to drop the obsolete measures but, American Imperial Measures are also smaller than Imperial measures from other nations. A cup is not always a cup.
    1 US Gallon = 3.75 liter
    1 UK Gallon = 4.54 liter
    Gallons also change between other nations, hence the global conversion to scientific metric standard, metric is the same no matter what nation you are in, a liter is a liter, a millimeter is a milliliter. What is 1/8th of an inch ? (It is hard to find rulers or measure tapes with imperial in the rest of the world)

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