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Hetty McKinnon's green beans with black bean sauce

Hetty McKinnon's green beans with black bean sauce

Prep 20 mins

Cook 10 mins

Serves 4

Difficulty 2

“Fermented black beans are an umami bomb. Much like olives or parmesan, their flavour is intoxicating, so intensely savoury and salty that you immediately crave more,” says Hetty McKinnon. “Fermented black beans (or dou chi) are black soybeans that have been fermented and salted, making them soft and semi-dry. Growing up, fermented black bean was one of my favourite flavours – in my meat-eating youth, I often requested my mother’s steamed pork cakes, which were laced with dou chi. At the supermarket, you will most likely find black bean sauce, a spicy, addictively flavoursome sauce that you can add to stir-fries and greens. You can use it in this recipe, but if you happen to find a bag of fermented black beans (probably in an Asian grocer) then please try this recipe for a homemade version of the sauce, which has a much fresher taste.”

Vegetable oil
250g green beans, trimmed

1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds


70g (½ cup) fermented black beans 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine

2 tsp tamari or soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

1. For the black bean sauce, place the beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well. Tip the beans into a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork or spoon to form a rough paste. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

2. Place a wok or large frying pan over high heat. When hot, add a good drizzle of oil and swirl the wok or pan to coat the surface. Add the green beans and cook for about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of black bean sauce, along with about 3 tablespoons of water, and toss for another 1–2 minutes, until the beans are bright green and tender-crisp. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper if necessary – you could add more black bean sauce if you wish. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve with rice.



Extracted with permission from the book To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Hetty McKinnon.

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