Fermented black bean sauce is a staple of Chinese cooking, made from fermented black soya beans and soya sauce. Available from most Asian grocery stores, and sometimes even in the asian food section of your local supermarket, we discovered this delicious sauce recently and can’t get enough!
This recipe is classically done with beef, but works perfectly well with vegetarian protein sources like tofu or (what we’ve done here) – with black beans! Black beans in a black bean sauce – yum!
Also, get all your prep done here before you start, you don’t want to be frantically chopping stuff while your garlic is burning. Once the prep is done, the cooking only takes 15 mins or so.
Broccoli and aubergine in black bean sauce
- 4 tbsp soya sauce
- 4 tbsp rice wine (chinese cooking wine). If unavailable, just use some of the water from the black bean can, or stock, or sherry, or whatever you have on hand!
- 1/2 red chilli, chopped thinly at an angle. Add a whole one if you like it spicy!
- 2 heaped tsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp Fermented black bean sauce
- 1 tbsp honey or other sweetener of choice
- Freshly ground black pepper or Szechuan peppercorns, if you have them!
- 1 medium aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces Microwave for 5 minutes, covered, to pre-cook
- 2 medium onions, chopped into wedges
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 4 cm piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 2 medium carrots, halved and sliced thinly at an angle
- 1 broccoli head, stem thinly sliced and florets separated
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 can black beans, drained, water separate
- 1 cup mangetout or snap peas
- 1 lime halved
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Do all your chopping and prep work. Pre-cook the aubs in the microwave. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok on the hottest your stovetop can do. Add the onions and toss around to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the garlic, ginger, drained black beans, aubergine pieces and cashew nuts and toss around another 60 seconds or so, until the aubergine is cooking. Use a spatula to keep everything in motion – don't let it sit and burn on. If you stovetop isn't extremely hot, then add the aubergines earier (or cook them longer in the microwave) – the aubergines need very high heat to cook. Bear in mind though that if you add them earlier they'll absorb the sesame oil, preventing it from spreading its flavour through the dish.
- Add the brocolli and sear around the pan a bit. Add about 1/4 cup of water from the black bean can (or stock) and continue stir-frying to steam the brocolli for about 30 seconds, then add the carrots, mangetout, and any other fast-cooking veggies you might be adding.Add the sauce and toss around for 60-90 seconds, making sure that the sauce coats all the vegetables and cooks the cornflour without sticking and burning on to the pan. Continuous movement is the key here. Add a little extra bean water or stock if the sauce seems too think – it should thinly coat all the veggies.
- As soon as you are happy that the brocolli is crisp-tender and the sauce is cooked, remove from heat, taste and adjust salt, squeeze in half a lime's juice, top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.