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Chinese Black Bean Sauce

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This is my gluten free Chinese Black Bean Sauce recipe for Asian cooking. I couldn’t live without it!

When I first started cooking gluten free I couldn’t find a gluten free version of Asian black bean sauce so I dug out this old recipe and just made it. I have no idea where the recipe came from but my best guess would be a glossy food magazine from before the days of the internet. In those days Asian black bean sauce was a specialty ingredient that was difficult to find. Now you can buy a variety of black bean sauces, but every one I have seen contains wheat.

This homemade version takes less than ten minutes to make (less time than another shopping trip to find a gluten free version of this sauce I’d say). The beans are the only special ingredient and I can easily buy them at an Asian market. The sauce keeps in the fridge for months as long as you always use a clean utensil. In my mind there really is no valid excuse not to make it.

The ingredients to make Chinese Black Bean Sauce and the finished sauce.
Chinese Black Bean Sauce -photo credit Jim Little

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Preserved Chinese Black Beans

To make this gluten free Chinese Black Bean Sauce you need preserved Chinese black beans. These black soybeans are also called fermented black beans or salted black beans. They are fragrant and add a unique, pungent taste wherever they are used. If you are interested in knowing more about them read my post titled Chinese black beans.

The beans are salty so are typically rinsed, I do this is a small strainer, then coarsely chopped before using. If you look closely at the photo you can see that my black beans have ginger in them. That is just how they come. Most recipes using the beans contain ginger and/or garlic so over time you can adjust your recipes for the amounts to suit your own taste.

Let me know in the comments below what you made with this Chinese Black Bean Sauce.

The Recipes – Chinese Black Bean Sauce

If you like ‘winging it’ and wok cooking you will love the pungent flavour this sauce adds to your food. Here are some of the ways I use this Chinese Black Bean Sauce.

Everyday Vegetable Stir-Fry

A bowl of my everyday Vegetable Stir Fry served on rice
Everyday Vegetable Stir Fry -photo credit Jim Little

Mongolian Pork Chops

Mongolian Pork Chops on the grill.
Mongolian Pork Chops -photo credit Jim Little

In these Hoisin Glazed Pork Ribs I use the black beans, rinsed and chopped (not the sauce)

Hoisin Glazed Pork Ribs
Hoisin Glazed Pork Ribs -photo credit Jim Little

Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce

Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce
Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce -photo credit Jim Little



2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
2 Tbsp Chinese black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ cup GF chicken stock
1 Tbsp GF soy sauce
2 Tbsp Sherry
1 tsp sugar
1½ tsp cornstarch


Finely chop black beans. Set aside with garlic.
In a liquid measuring cup measure chicken stock, soy sauce, Sherry, sugar and cornstarch. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
Heat oil in medium saucepan oven medium-high heat,
Add black beans and garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds.
Pour liquid mixture into saucepan. Cook stirring continuously until sauce thickens, 2-4 minutes.
When cool pour into clean jar and label it. Keeps in refrigerator for several months. Makes about ¾ cup of sauce.
TIP - I like the texture but if you prefer a smoother sauce use a hand blender to puree it.


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