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Fermented Black Beans

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What is it?

Chinese fermented black beans are soybeans that have been fermented in garlic, salt and other spices, chiles, and possibly wine or ginger. They impart a characteristically rich, salty flavor to the sauces in many Chinese dishes, and are often mashed with garlic prior to cooking. Used extensively in China (where they’re called douchi), the beans are not to be eaten by the spoonful, but rather are used sparingly as a condiment.

Don’t have it?

Black bean sauce, which is made from fermented black beans, is more widely available and can make a good substitute.

How to choose:

Fermented black beans are sold at Asian specialty markets in plastic bags.

How to prep:

Fermented black beans should be rinsed before using, or their salty flavor may overpower a recipe. Use them in the preliminary stages of a recipe, such as rubbing onto meat before cooking or heating in stir fry oil.

How to store:

They can be stored in an air tight container in a cool, dry and dark place for up to several months.

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