Not to be confused with the black beans found in Mexican cooking, Chinese fermented black beans (also called salted black beans) are made by fermenting soybeans in garlic, salt and other spices. Popular dishes like Cantonese Lobster wouldn't be the same without their strong flavor. Here are my ten most popular Chinese recipes using fermented black beans - either the dried beans or a prepared sauce.
The classic Cantonese dish, in which lobster tails are simmered in a savory black bean mixture.
One of the most well-known dishes to come out of Szechuan province, the name Mapo Dofu is roughly translated as "pockmarked grandmother beancurd," in honor of the old woman rumoured to have invented the dish.
Marinated beef is stir-fried with a spicy mixture including fermented black beans and chili paste.
Spareribs are slowly simmered in savory black bean sauce with garlic. This recipe is reader-rated at 5 out of 5 stars.
A reader gives this recipe for 5 out of 5 stars and writes: "Excellent and easy recipe. I marinated mine overnight and cooked it in a slow cooker to further tenderise the beef. Mouth watering results." (When I wrote asking for more details, he explained that he cooked the beef on low for about 5 hours, using a large Breville Slow Cooker).
Don't let the name fool you - there is no lobster to be found in this popular dish. Its name comes from the sauce, which is virtually identical to the sauce for Cantonese Lobster.
Got a yen for shrimp and savory black bean sauce but don't want to go to all the trouble of making Shrimp with lobster sauce? Shrimp and red bell peppers are paired with pre-made black bean sauce in this easy stir-fry.
Salted Chinese black beans are more than able to hold their own against the strong flavor of bitter melon in this flavorful stir-fry.
The sweet taste of fresh asparagus contrasts nicely with Chinese black beans.
Black beans can hold their own against the strong flavor of clams in this Cantonese dish.