How to Make… Black Bean Sauce

Black beans
Image by kattebelletje via Flickr

Black Bean sauce can be a wonderful rich fullness to an Asian meal, or bring with it an overbearing saltiness which destroys it.  Why not take all of the guesswork out and make your own?  It’s really not that hard, and you know exactly what’s in it.  All you need is a source of tinned fermented/salted Black Beans (no pun intended) – try the ‘specialist’ section in the supermarket, or your local Asian store.  The sauce keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks and can be frozen in portions for use as required.

Recommendation – Stir it into Chicken Chow Mein for the most amazing dish!

Makes approx 300 ml+ Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 180g tin (approx 4 tbsp) Salted Black Beans, drained & rinsed
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 200ml Vegetable Stock
  • 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Dry Sherry
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 2-3 tsp Cornflour


  • In a small pan, heat the oil and add the beans and garlic.  Cook gently for about a minute
  • Mix together the remaining ingredients in a jug, then add to the pan.  Bring up to the boil, stirring all of the time
  • Once thickened, the sauce is ready to use, or allow to cool, bottle and refrigerate for future use


10 Comments Add yours

  1. maggie says:

    Love this sauce! Do you have a recipe for satay sauce too!

    1. Hi Maggie, so pleased you like it!
      I love satay too, and I’ve tried hundreds of recipes, but still haven’t found one as good as my local Cantonese restaurant 😦
      I’m still on the lookout though – if I come across something good, I’ll let you know!

  2. Kerri says:

    Hi there.
    Thanks for the recipe. I am super keen to try this. Hope it’s nicer then the premade. Ogled sauces

    1. Homecook says:

      🙂 Anything homemade is better than premade (store bought). Less sodium for 1 … and you know exactly what has gone in it for 2!

  3. Richard says:

    I thought I’d bought black bean sauce at the Asian supermarket today, but they’re just black beans! I’ll be trying this recipe tomorrow 🙂

  4. Mike Scott says:

    180g of black beans is nowhere near 4 tablespoons — which do you mean? A tablespoon is 15ml, and black beans are probably rather less dense than water, so 4 tablespoons would be less than 60g. Or alternatively, 180g would be something like 15 tablespoons.

    1. Hi Mike, I used a 180g tin, drained & rinsed. The tablespoon measure would have been heaped and a crude indication but I accept that would still seem a little light.

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