Sunday, March 17, 2013

Salmon with Black Bean Sauce


Have you ever tried salmon with black bean sauce before? Honestly, I never knew salmon could be prepared this way until I found out from some friends that it is a common Chinese dish. I uusally cook salmon with either miso or teriyaki sauce, but with black beans? It actually turned out really good - sweet, salty, smoky (from the beans), with a hit of chilli in there. These flavours are just perfect with a bowl of steamed white rice, and it's all you really need for a satisfying meal. Of course, to make it complete, serve it with a plate of stir-fried asian greens like bok choy or snow pea sprouts.

I used fermented black beans that came in a jar, and not the dried ones that come in a packet. You should be able to find them at the Asian supermarket at the aisle where all the sauces and jars of pastes are. I've never tried the dried version before, so I'm not sure if they are any different. The flavours should be similar though. If salmon with black bean sauce is new to you too, why not try making this at home? It's pretty quick and easy, and most importantly, it's delicious served with white rice. I pan-fried the salmon, but you could easily steam of bake it in the oven for a healthier alternative.

Salmon with Black Bean Sauce


2x salmon fillets - about 450g / 1 lb
Vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tbsp fermented black beans, chopped
1-2 bird's eye chillies, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
2-3 tsp sugar
Dash of pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Cheong Chan brand thick caramel
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup water

Cornflour solution:
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water

Chopped spring onions
Sliced red chillies


  1. Prepare the sauce first. Heat up a small frying pan with 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil. Add garlic, ginger, black beans and chillies. Fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add cornflour solution to thicken the sauce. Stir until it comes back to the boil. Turn off heat and keep warm.
  3. Clean the salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Rub a little salt over the fillets. Heat up vegetable oil in a clean non-stick pan and fry for about 3 minutes each side or until just cooked. Transfer onto a serving plate and pour the black bean sauce over it. Garnish with chopped spring onions and chillies if desired. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.
Note: For the salmon fillets, you can choose to steam or bake them instead. Place the fish in aluminium foil and top with the cooked black bean sauce. Wrap in the foil, then bake in preheated oven at 200C/400F for 12-15 minutes until just cooked.