Black Bean Sauce Recipes

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Ca Chung Tuong Recipe (Vietnamese Steamed Fish in Spicy Black Beans) Recipe

Cá chưng tương, which literally translates to "steamed fish in black bean sauce," is a staple Vietnamese seafood dish. It's placed in the oven and steamed on a bed of vegetables. It's seasoned so that the spicy, salted black bean mixture covers any fish smell while also infusing a ton of flavor.

A lot of Vietnamese cooking techniques are inspired by French cuisine because Vietnam was a longtime colony of the French empire. This dish is no exception. The whole fish is steamed, papillote-style in aluminum foil that acts like a steam chamber. The pocket infuses the fish with the flavor of the salty black beans. In addition to the black beans, I added fresh ginger, green onions and chiles. To prevent the fish from burning in the oven, I placed the whole salmon on a bed of fresh oyster mushrooms and thick slices of onions and carrots. Thin vermicelli noodles cover the fish to absorb any moisture.

I’d like to give a very special thanks to our awesome neighbor Tom for providing us the fresh fish in this dish. Tom is an avid fisherman in his spare time and graciously offered us his latest, impressive catch: a beautiful whole 2-½ pounds salmon.


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Asparagus Chicken Stir Fry Recipe (Black Bean Sauce Chicken) Recipe

I receive many questions and recipe suggestions from readers. It might take a while for me to respond but I want you to know that I read every single one of them and they always fill me with joy. So here's Bill's (a regular reader) recipe for asparagus chicken. I didn’t make many changes; I just added a few more bold and spicy flavors to counteract the blandness of chicken. Specifically, I used black bean garlic sauce and red chiles, in keeping with the Asian theme of the dish.

The key to making sure this dish turns out well is not to overcook the asparagus. I chose to use baby asparagus in this dish but regardless, it should be bright green and still have some crunch . The texture, if cooked properly, is wonderful, and baby asparagus is visually appealing to boot.

For a little background, here's what Bill wrote about the dish:

"I got this recipe a very long time ago while taking a cooking class at “Isle of Skye Kitchen” in Saratoga [California], a combo antique store and vendor of exotic spices ... long gone. It has been a family favorite for years. Here it is with some personal experience updates."

Thanks Bill!


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Soybean Sprouts with Black Bean Sauce Recipe

Stir fried soybean sprouts make a healthy, yet tasty side dish if you're planning a quick and easy Asian meal. The bean sprouts are seasoned with black bean sauce and soy sauce. Baby spinach is added for a nice contrast in color.

Soybean sprouts are a lot harder to get than regular mung bean sprouts. The sprouts are much larger and have a yellow color, whereas mung bean sprouts are green. I buy mine at a local Korean store. It's definitely worth the effort to find them though, because soybean sprouts give the dish an extra dimension of flavor.


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Deep Fried Black Pepper and Sesame Soy Gluten with Choy Sum Recipe

Soy gluten is made from the combination of wheat gluten and soy bean gluten. Contrary to tofu, it has a chewy texture. When deep fried, its volume expands, creating a crispy exterior.  The gluten shrinks when dipped in the black bean sauce creating a meaty texture. I used the same method as my sunken tofu so that the soy gluten absorbs all the flavor of the sauce.

What I love about this recipe is that it is probably the only dish that Lulu and I get to enjoy eating together and feeding each other. The soy gluten has a similar texture to meat, but with a very different taste. So if you're a carnivore like me, you'll enjoy this dish as much as I do.

To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of vegetarian food. I have been cooking a lot of veggie dishes since I got married, but I don't really enjoy them without adding some meat. I keep complaining to Lulu how much I would love to be able to share a meal together. I've tried to convert my husband into a meat eater for almost 5 years, but I've been wildly unsuccessful. So in a way, one could say that this is my recipe for a happy marriage.


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Black Bean and Lemongrass Cod a la Hong Kong Recipe

I love seafood. I don't cook a lot of fish at home because of all the complaints from the vegetarians in the house but I couldn't resist: there was some very fresh lingcod at the market today.

Preparing black bean and lemongrass lingcod à la Hong Kong is easier than it seems; I simply marinated the fish with some lemongrass from the garden, some fresh ginger and black bean sauce. I then wrapped the whole fish en papillote, which means that I created a steam chamber out of aluminum foil for the fish. When it was ready, I served it with some steamed jasmin rice. The fish would also go well with red rice and mixed vegetables, if you're more health conscious. 


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