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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Off the Shelf
Black beans enliven Chinese dishes

Fermented black beans add a pungent, salty note to stir-fried, braised and steamed dishes.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

When you steam soybeans, ferment them with a special mold, then dry and salt them, you get tau see, salted or fermented black beans.

This is a very old Chinese seasoning, predating soy sauce. The beans are used to add a salty taste to stir-fried, braised and steamed dishes.

To use them, crush them with a cleaver or chop them lightly; black beans marry well with garlic, ginger and chilies. Rinsing is not necessary.

Black beans should feel soft but not dry; store in a covered container in the refrigerator.