Salty beans?
May 17, 2009 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Savory, salty black beans in take out Chinese food... how do they do it?

Just had some chinese food the other night (black bean chicken), and the black beans in the recipe had a salty, smoky taste.. very very good. I've never had black beans that have that taste to them before. How would I reproduce that at home?
posted by frwagon to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can buy them in a jar.
posted by Houstonian at 4:23 PM on May 17, 2009

In addition to a jar, you can buy them in a bag. I mention this because this is the only way I've seen them. They last forever. Here is a vegetable recipe that uses them that I make all the time. You could probably replace the green beans with chicken or just add chicken and double the remaining ingredients (not including the green beans) and I'll bet it would be very close to what you ate the other night.
posted by zinfandel at 4:36 PM on May 17, 2009

They are actually fermented soybeans, not black beans as one might naturally assume. They turn black during the fermenting.
posted by HotToddy at 5:02 PM on May 17, 2009

safeway sells them here in CA...i can't remember the brand name but it's a whole line of chinese sauces and ingredients.
posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2009

If you do buy then in a bag, or even in the form of that "paper jar" with these black beans in its dried form, you have to prepare them. My mom had always put some oil in a wok, fry up some chopped garlic, before dumping portions (about a third to one half depending on your wok or pan's capacity) of it to be fried. No need to add salt or soya sauce. Don't be stingy with the oil, you want the beans to absorb them, as they'll just release the oil later when you use the black beans in your dishes.

The result would basically be pre-prepared black beans that we kept in glass jars in the fridge. if we were steaming tofu, or seafood, or whatever dish that would require the black bean, just throw a couple of spoonful into the dish as the marinate. Remember that the black beans are already salty, so don't use it on top of your regular marinate!
posted by margaretlam at 10:31 AM on May 18, 2009

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