Adventures in Szechuan cuisine.
I have been searching for Chinese black bean sauce here in Thailand for years to no avail. Nor have I found salted dried black soy beans used in making traditional Chinese black bean sauce. A most frustrating conundrum. There are salted black soy beans and Chinese black bean sauces available on line, but international shipping is just not worth the expense.
The only option left was to just make my own using black turtle beans that are common in the Americas and readily available here in Thailand.
So the recipe that follows is by no means authentic, but forgoing Chinese bean sauce forever was a defeat I was not willing to endure. Making do with what you have can sometimes be the mother of invention, and the results are surprisingly similar to the bean sauces I so fondly remember.
Delicious with braised or grilled meats, shrimp, lobster, tossed with stir fried greens, or added to various Szechuan dishes such as Ma Po Tofu.
Homemade Black Bean Sauce (Substitute) makes 1 cup
- 1/2 cup cold pressed peanut oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced spring onions, both white and green parts
1 cup pre cooked black turtle beans with broth to cover
1 tablespoon hot red fried crispy chilies in red oil, including some oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Szechuan pepper
chili oil for topping off for storage
Set wok over medium high flame and add 2 tablespoons peanut oil. Swirl the wok and add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes until soft.
Add the pre cooked black beans along with the broth and stir fry while tossing until the broth has reduced by half; about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
Add the crispy chilies along with some of the oil and Shaoxing wine. Lower the flame to medium and cook until the wine is reduced by two thirds.
Add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sea salt, and the Szechuan pepper and toss to combine.
Remove the wok from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer 1/3 of the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend, adding the remaining peanut oil cup in a slow steady stream through the feed tube on the top of the blender or food processor.
Stir the pureed mixture into the reserved bean mixture and stir until combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature before storing in a preserving jar. Top the bean sauce with a little chili oil on the surface, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Best to top off the bean sauce with a little chili oil after each use.
The bean sauce can be thinned with hot water as needed.