Made from salted fermented black soybean called douchi, black bean sauce is a condiment you’ve probably encountered if you’ve eaten Cantonese or Szechuan cooking. It’s often used for fish or meat dishes, in stir fries, stews, or with vegetables or tofu; as a condiment for after cooking or as a marinade to impart flavor during or before cooking — there’s really no limit to how black bean sauce can be used.
There’s also no single definitive list of ingredients in black bean sauce, but it pretty much always has garlic, a bit of sugar, some soy sauce, and other spices. Spicier versions can have Szechuan peppercorns or chili powder. The end result is a sauce that’s salty but complex, with umami and a smidgeon of sweetness (and spice if you choose to make it that way).
At Uwajimaya, we carry premade black bean sauce in the same aisle as our other condiments and sauces, but that’s just one way to get it. You can also make your own homemade black bean sauce, customized with the spices and flavors you prefer. There are many recipes available online, and you can make your own in as little as 15 minutes! If you want to take that route, the spices, oils, and other ingredients are all at your local Uwajimaya, too.