A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Chinese Beef in Black Bean Sauce with Peppers is a surprisingly easy stir-fry recipe you can make at home. 

And, it tastes just like it does from the takeaway! 

Beef in Black Bean Sauce with Green Peppers
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Beef with Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

This an easy recipe to make Chinese beef and bell peppers with a savoury black bean sauce.

This dish will make your mouth water! It's packed with healthy ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and onions, and it's a great meal to have if you're watching your weight.

Popular on any Chinese takeout menu is Beef in Black Bean Sauce with Green Peppers, probably because it's just so delicious.

You will need Preserved Fermented Black Beans, please see my note below. They're usually preserved in ginger and salt.

Chinese preserved fermented black beans

What are Fermented Black Beans?

Fermented black beans are also known as douchi, fermented black soybeans, Chinese fermented black beans, and salted black beans and are popular ingredients in many Chinese recipes.

The fermented and salted beans are most commonly used for making black bean sauce for savoury dishes, stir-fries and dishes such as Mapo Tofu.

How to Prepare and use Preserved Fermented Black Beans

You must rinse them to get rid of the salt and then soak them in a little warm water for around 10 minutes.

This will not only plump them up but it will remove the salt used to preserve them, otherwise, your dish will be far too salty. Then drain and chop finely before using them in your recipe.

Where can you buy Chinese Fermented Black Beans?

You'll find them here in Chinese supermarkets such as Wing Yip or over at Amazon.

Please remember though that it's 'Preserved Fermented Black Beans' in salt and ginger that you're after, and certainly not in any kind of sauce.

They are available over at Amazon UK at silly prices, I've seen in the past someone wanting £65 GBP for a tub 😨

seriously, they are having a laugh as they are only a couple of quid, so please be sure you don't pay over the top!

What is a Substitute for Chinese Preserved Fermented Black Beans?

To be honest, nothing. You could use black bean sauce from the supermarket but it really doesn't taste anywhere near the real thing.

Chinese Black Vinegar

There are two types of Chinese black vinegar sold. One will be labelled Black Vinegar and the other is Sweetened Black Vinegar.

Beware, sweetened black vinegar is very different and has added sugar and flavourings, usually including ginger so be sure to buy the one labelled Chinese Black Vinegar which is also available on Amazon.

This ingredient is used primarily for braised pork dishes. Therefore it's important that you do not use sweetened vinegar to replace regular black vinegar.

What can you use as a substitute for Chinese Black Vinegar?

Seriously, it's best if you can get the real thing, but some people say a little balsamic vinegar with a splash of Worcestershire sauce, which helps to cut the sweetness.

I've also heard people saying you can use malt vinegar to replace the black vinegar, although I say they taste completely different.

In this recipe, you only need a half teaspoon so I say just leave it out altogether if you can't get any.

You can find other Chinese recipes by scrolling to the very bottom of this post and selecting Chinese Recipes from the tag cloud.

Chinese Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Beef in black bean sauce - easy stir-fry recipe.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

beef in black bean sauce, recipe, stir fry recipe, Chinese, takeaway, takeout
main, Chinese, beef
Yield: 2
Author: Jan Bennett
Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

You must prepare the black beans before using.Rinse, drain and then soak in a little warm water for 10 minutes.Drain and chop finely.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 6 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 46 Min


  • 400g very thinly sliced beef - sliced into 1 x 2-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans - rinsed, drained and then soaked in a little water for 10 minutes before draining again.
  • 1 large onion - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 dried red chillies - deseeded but left whole
  • 2 green bell peppers - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 spring onions - sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into 1-inch lengths
  • about 4 slices fresh ginger - finely chopped (about a 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic - finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying
To marinate the beef
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of cornflour (UK) or cornstarch (US)
  • 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing (Chinese) rice wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce


To make the sauce mix the following together in a bowl
  1. 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  2. 1/2 a tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons of sugar
  4. 1/2 a teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
  5. 1 tablespoon water
  6. 1 good tablespoon of oyster sauce
  7. 2 teaspoon cornflour
  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients and add the sliced beef. Set aside for about 20 minutes to half an hour.
  2. Make sure you've rinsed and soaked the black beans then drain from the water and add set aside.
  3. You can then mix together the sauce ingredients and add the drained black beans to it and set aside.
  4. When you have everything at the ready, heat a glug (not quite a tablespoon) of vegetable oil in a wok.
  5. First cook the beef; drain what little marinade there is and then stir fry until it's almost cooked, this will take just a minute or two.
  6. Remove the beef from the wok and set aside.
  7. Wipe the wok with kitchen paper and heat up another glug oil. When it's nice and hot, add the onions, bell peppers, spring onions, and whole dried red chillies.
  8. Stir fry for about 3 minutes.
  9. Now add the garlic and ginger and stir for another minute - don't let the garlic burn or it will taste bitter.
  10. Add the black bean sauce mixture and stir fry for a few minutes more. Put the beef back in giving it all a good stir.
  11. Before serving, remove the whole chillies and discard. Serve with rice or noodles.
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  1. One of our favourite dishes Jan. We always get this when we get a takeaway! xxoo

  2. I'm raving too Jan, it looks delicious!

  3. I'm dialing 1=800-yumm-jan for chinese!


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