Chinese Black Bean Sauce

“The next time you get a chance, make me some black bean sauce”.” Make you what?” I thought, “what’s that for?”  I have heard that request a few times from my husband over the past year. When we started making Chinese food at home, he started asking for this black bean sauce.  I was so involved in perfecting my Kung Pao chicken, fried rice (ug this one took awhile), beef and broccoli, that I didn’t really think about this black bean sauce he kept pestering asking me for.

To be honest, I really wasn’t very familiar with it.  When I finally did look it up, I sadly realized there was no way I could get the main ingredient: fermented black beans, here in Playa.  Insert sad face here.

That’s where friends come in. We have friends who have a home base in Belize city but spend a lot of time doing volunteer work., so they end up coming our way at least a couple of times of year. Belize has a high population of Chinese people and therefore, fantastic Chinese grocery stores. I knew this already from the times that I have been there, but it has been a few years so it seems I have forgotten the extent to what the stores there offer.  My friend sent me a message a few weeks before they were coming to Playa and offered to visit the local Chinese grocery stores for anything that I could not get here. I was so excited I didn’t even know where to start. Of course, what subsequently happens when someone offers to get you something and you’re super excited?   I don’t know about yours, but my mind goes blank and cannot think of anything.  

I had to do some research. So I got online and searched through as many different oriental recipes I could find, looking through all of the ingredients.  I was happy to find that 90% of the items I could get here, but, there were a few things that I could not. And of course, because there were so many Chinese grocery stores in Belize, the items there were much cheaper than I could find here. I got a list of a few things, which she found quickly. Then I think to torture me she sent a picture of the shelves in the store and I almost passed out from excitement zoomed in and asked for a few more things. What was I most excited about? You guessed it. 

The fermented black beans so I could finally attempt to fulfill my husband’s request so that he would stop pestering me so I could make him happy.

I am aware that YOU can probably buy black bean sauce, making this recipe practically obsolete, but I can’t, so here we are.  Besides that fact, I love trying to create what you can buy packaged straight in my kitchen, it’s fresher, less preservatives, and I can alter the flavor to how we like it. 

I must say, I wasn’t disappointed.  There was one problem though:  the first time I made it I only made enough for one serving. I presented it to my husband after only having two bites myself. Mistake. He inhaled it and I was left with only fragments of flavor on my taste-buds. So this time I made enough sauce for a hungry group of six, and I still have some left in the fridge.   

Want to know what to put the sauce on? You’ll most often see it on noodle dishes, but it can be tossed with poultry, pork, beef, noodles, rice, you name it.  Take a look at my next post which will be up on the blog later today  to see how I prepared it.  

Make up a batch of this today, keep it in the fridge, and tell me what you try it.  



  • 2/3 cup fermented black beans
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup ginger, finely minced
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 Tab soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tab water


Soak beans in water for about an hour.  Rinse and drain.  Mash beans with a fork and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add green onions and cook for another minute.  Add mashed beans and cook for another minute.  Add all remaining ingredients, except for cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or so or until the liquid is reduced.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer for another few minutes until thickened.

Let sauce cool and keep in airtight container in the refrigerator.  Will keep for up to two weeks.


Adapted from: The Daring Gourmet


2 thoughts on “Chinese Black Bean Sauce

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