Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 14, 2011 12:32 AM

Black bean sauce recipe? (chinese-style)

Does anyone have a good recipe for how to make a chinese style black bean sauce from scratch? I'd like to do it without using the premade sauces by LKK or whatnot.

I'll probably start with the fermented black beans and fry them up with soy sauce and garlic, salt, sugar pepper. Is it traditional to add oyster sauce as well?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I was also wondering if chicken broth or beef broth is used usually?

    3 Replies
    1. re: michaelngo85

      I add a teaspoon or so of oyster sauce when I make shrimp with black beans, but not with other proteins. Add ginger, sliced scallions and dry sherry or rice wine to your mix; sugar is optional, I sometimes add a teaspoon. Hot chile paste with garlic, sambal oelek or dry fried chiles are also optional if you'd like some heat. I use chicken stock in black bean sauced dishes and in virtually all Chinese stir fries.

      Rinse your beans and mash lightly or chop, then combine with minced garlic and ginger and rice wine, set aside. Towards the end of cooking, stir fry the bean mixture briefly in a little hot oil and add your vegetables, cook and add in the previously stir fried or blanched protein.

      There's really no need to make the sauce in advance, but if you want to, Ming Tsai's black bean garlic sauce recipe is good, basic and convenient. Makes about 2 1/2 cups, lasts for a few weeks. You may want to divide the recipe down, otherwise you'll be eating black bean sauced everything day and night:

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        ooh, thanks b-girl! i have a new pack of fermented black beans just itchin' to get used. i'm thinking...scallops!

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Thanks for the recipe, I'm pleasantly surprised to see an Asian cooking show, there's so few of them I feel, one is left to his own devices when trying to learn how to cook Asian cuisine.

          I'll definitely give this one a try.

          And I meant sugar, pepper. Forgot the punctuation!

      2. I have done it a few time, but I don't think it tastes better than LKK, but it is more laborsome and doesn't perserve well. I think it is one of those thigns that you will do once and twice and realize it is not worth it. Your proposed recipe is fine, maybe a touch of sugar and ginger. What is sugar pepper? I don't think it is traditional to add oyster sauce, but it is really up to you. Oyster sauce is a relatively new invention -- invented by the founder of LKK.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          "What is sugar pepper?"

          Ha, chem, I think it's just a missing comma. I agree with you about making it in advance; it's so easy to do for each dish.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            oyster sauce invented by LKK? never knew!

            tell us more.....

            1. re: alkapal

              Well, technically, oyster sauce came before LKK. In fact, you can say oyster sauce found LKK. Lee Kam Sheung first invented oyster sauce and from there he found Lee Kum Kee the company.

              From wikipedia,
              "The development of oyster sauce is often credited to Lee Kam Sheung, from Nam Shui Village, Guangdong....He started to sell this new invention which turned out to be very popular. So in 1888, he formed Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce House to mass produce oyster sauce"

              From LKK English website:
              "Lee Kum Kee was established in 1888 when its founder, Mr. Lee Kum Sheung, invented oyster sauce in Nanshui, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province of China. "

              Chinese baidu website:

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                i trust LKK brands for quality. interesting about the promotion of oyster sauce -- he didn't really "invent" it in 1888, did he? it wasn't in the cuisine prior to that? hmmmm..... you are a treasure trove cee kay.

                1. re: alkapal


                  You have flattered me. Oyster sauce is the first product of LKK. In fact, LLK only sold oyster sauce for a long time. You are correct. He formed the brand in 1888. He must have invented probably a few years before. Yes, it is not possible to have oyster sauce much earlier than that. A very humble beginning as a farmer, he ran away from the village because of gangsters. Opened a small eatry...


                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    +1 on the treasure trove compliment. Impressive, as always.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    i trust LKK brands for quality

                    I'm a Koon Chun Sauce Factory guy. myself

                    1. re: fourunder

                      I love Koon Chun for its soy sauces. They taste great and with no preservative or any addictives. Very, very basic and true: water, soy bean, salt and wheat flour. That's it.

                      For oyster sauce, I like both LLK and Sa Chen. Sa Chen has very simple ingredients as well: oyster extract (including salt), water, corn starch and caramel.

                      I am not totally against addictives, but if I can get equal quality products, I surely will pick the one with least addictives. The reasoning are two folds. The first reason is similar to most people -- potential health benefits, but the second reason is because of support of traditional basic method. If Koom Chun can make soy sauce without all the favoring and coloring addictives and yet their products taste as good as any others if not more, then it speaks volume about their technique, skill and commitment.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Get "premium" oyster sauce, not "oyster flavored" sauce when available.

                        1. re: monku

                          Are you talking about Lee Kum Kee, right? The premium oyster sauce (with old label) vs the value oyster sauce (with Panda label)

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                It's worth it to make black bean sauce from scratch and the taste it brings to the dish is much better than the LKK premade stuff. I used to think the way you did, but there's a big difference you can smell when you cook it and the taste.

                It really isn't a lot of work to mash up some fermented black beans, chop up some garlic and add some soy sauce.

                1. re: monku

                  Maybe I am just not very good at it. I will try it again.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    My mom makes the best shrimp with lobster sauce.
                    Over the years I've been using the LKK in the bottle (it's convenient) to make it and thought it was just fine. Last couple years visiting her I asked her to make it and it tastes better making the black bean sauce from scratch.

                    Comes right down to it the LKK and fermented black beans will both last forever in your refrigerator.

              3. I don't cook enough Chinese to prepare it in advance and store it in the refrigerator for future use. When I plan on a dish incorporating Fermented Black Beans, here is what I do....

                Minimum 30 minutes in advance.....soak FBB in hot water.

                The sauce is like others have suggested.

                Preferred Oil in Wok
                Minced Garlic
                Fine chopped or sliver ginger
                Softened Fermented Black Beans
                Chicken Stock
                Cornstarch Slurry
                Adjust Seasonings to taste or dish....White Pepper, Chilies or Oyster Sauce
                Fine Sliced Green Onions

                4 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  that looks good to me! thanks! do you press the beans a little so some "split" a bit?

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I have to admit, the thought of splitting a few bean has never occurred to me......I'll have to try it next time. When I have BBS, I like to have some beans along with the protein......more of a burst of flavor experience , if you know what I mean.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      when i've had the sauce, more than several beans are a little broken up or "smushed."

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I smush 'em slightly with the flat side of the knife, but not totally to a paste, leaving some chunkiness.