If you've wondered what the black bean sauce on Chinese restaurant menus is like, we'll tell you about the taste and texture as well as how to prepare tempting vegan dishes with it at home.
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What Does Black Bean Sauce Taste Like?
The main flavor in black bean sauce comes from fermented black soybeans.
These give it a somewhat funky note, but it's reduced with other strong flavors.
This sauce is spicy, sweet and salty.
It usually has garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce and warming spices in it, all of which contribute to the vigorous flavor.
Black Bean Sauce Texture
Homemade black bean sauces are more likely to be chunkier than bottled types, which may even be relatively smooth.
The texture is by no means like a chunky stew, but rather like a pudding with small, chewy pieces in it.
The closest condiment to relate black bean sauce to is possibly chutney.
It should be thick, but it will get saucier when heated up and tossed with tofu and veggies.
Make sure you remove the excess moisture from the tofu by using a tofu press. Not only will this improve the texture but it will also make the tofu more flavor dense. If you want to make your tofu extra awesome then you'll want check out our best tofu press guide.
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Is Hoisin Sauce the Same as Black Bean Sauce?
To be sure, there are more similarities between these two sauces than differences.
They're both salty, savory and slightly sweet fermented soybean condiments, but hoisin sauce is smooth like a thick paste and does have some distinctive characteristics.
Hoisin sauce is generally herbal with a strong Chinese five-spice and fennel flavor, giving it a licorice essence.
This is a key flavor difference between hoisin and black bean sauce.
How Long Does Black Bean Sauce Last?
An unopened container of black bean sauce can last for years.
Once opened, it may have only a few weeks depending on its other ingredients, but the fermentation can make it stretch.
Freshly prepared sauces can be a different story.
Usually, you want to use homemade sauces within the week, but again, fermentation and added vinegar will prolong its life in the refrigerator.
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What Can I Substitute for Black Bean Sauce?
Because hoisin sauce has so many of the same ingredients, you can substitute it for black bean sauce.
You'll get that licorice-like flavor, too, but it works so well in stir-fries.
Miso paste with some soy sauce and a touch of sweetener can also reasonably replace black bean sauce, but hoisin is a better substitute.
However, the more fermented-tasting the miso is, the better it will be as a replacement.
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Black Bean Sauce Serving Tips
How do you make black bean sauce?
If you're asking yourself this question, watch the videos below.
They'll show you how to do it from scratch and then how to make some of the most impressive vegan dinners you've ever made.
This is a recipe for a vegan version of jajangmyeon, a Chinese-Korean noodle dish.
It'll take some preparation, but nothing difficult by any means—beginners can make this recipe.
Here's what you'll need:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Green onions
- White or yellow onion
- Green cabbage
- Portobello mushrooms
- Cooking oil
- Black bean paste or miso
- Vegan oyster sauce
- Udon noodles
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After the jajangmyeon, you can make this stir-fried Chinese tofu dish with black bean sauce.
It calls for premade sauce, but you can substitute the one from the jajangmyeon recipe.
Here are the ingredients:
- Tofu (firm is best)
- Green beans
- Black bean sauce
- Chili powder
- Cornstarch or tapioca starch
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Rice wine
- Cooking oil
This fermented black soybean sauce adds a balanced blend of salty, sweet and umami flavors to your meals.
It'll quickly become a staple in your weekly dinner rotation.
Use it in stir-fries, noodle dishes and in vegan jajangmyeon.
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