I’ll be honest… I love anything that comes in a black bean garlic sauce. That earthy, funky and rich flavor works with so many dishes and protein types… Even makes a wonderful addition to vegetarian, and vegan, dishes! Don’t let the fact that this brand of black beans is Chinese make you think you can only use black beans in Asian food(s). In fact black beans are used from South America to Japan in some form.
Sadly, most bottled, or canned, black beans on the market today is packed fully of salt, MSG, preservatives and thickeners which, for me, muddies the taste and, now that I’m an older gal, raises the blood pressure. I spent several months researching black beans and various methods of prep, storage and usage and that’s when I discovered “Yang Jiang Preserved Black Beans With Ginger“ while watching a few YouTube channels.
So what makes this preserved black bean brand so good?
- The beans come dried and can be stored on your pantry shelf without refrigeration for months.
- You can easily make as much, or little, as you wish. I normally prepare 2-3 portions at once and just keep what I don’t use in a sealed container in the refrigerator. As long as you don’t introduce any extra liquid it should last 2-3 months easily.
- Despite having ginger in the name, the beans don’t actually have a lot of ginger in them. So you can use it in many other dishes like black bean noodles, American chili, vegetarian dumplings and it’s even in a number of the popular Chili Garlic Crisp currently being sold.
- It contains 3 ingredients and they are all natural. (Black beans, salt and ginger.) All of the other dry, or bottled, black beans I’ve seen thus far contained things like soy sauce (which normally contains gluten) along with wheat powder. Which isn’t a big deal for me, but I prefer to add my own if/when it’s needed instead of just eating empty carbs.
What don’t I like about this preserved black bean brand?
- The packaging inside that contains the beans is not resealable. So you either have to make the whole container, or store in an air tight container. It’s not a huge deal, but would be nice to just quickly seal up the package after each use.
- The outside package is made of somewhat flimsy cardboard and paper. So you have to be careful where you store the package in the kitchen to avoid oils and/or water. Getting it wet a couple times could easily make the fall apart. Again, not a huge deal, but would be nice to have a more stable, resealable container.
- Open the container and dish out the amount you wish to make into a heat proof bowl about double the size of your dry beans. I normally go with about 1 Tablespoon of dry beans per serving, but most inexpensive Chinese takeaways in the America/Europe seem to use about 1/2 Tablespoon per serving.
- Using an electric kettle, microwave or sauce pan heat enough water to cover your beans by at least double. (Doesn’t need to be boiling, but hotter than from your kitchen sink.) Pour the water over the dry black beans and stir from the bottom for about 2-3 minutes to help agitate the beans. This step will re-hydrate the beans while also washing off any dust that may be on the beans from packaging, or the drying process. Once mixed leave the beans soaking in the water for about 10-15 minutes.
- Over your sink, pour the black beans and water through a fine strainer. Place the strainer with the beans inside over a container and allow any excess water to drip away. This normally takes about 30 minutes. Discard the water and place the black beans in a clean dry bowl.
- Using the back of a spoon smash the black beans 60% smashed beans and 40% whole and/or broken beans. You can smash it more, or less, depending on your taste. You could also use a food processor on the pulse setting to achieve this too, but be careful not to make a puree of the beans. (There should be some texture.)
- Place the black bean mixture in a dry container with a lid and store in the refrigerator. As long as you do not introduce any outside moisture you can store the black beans for about 3 months.
- Optional: You can puree garlic/ginger in a little oil and add it to your black bean paste for added flavor.
So, if you’re like me and LOVE black beans this is definitely a great brand to add to your pantry!
Notice: This product review was done freely without any sponsoring from, or connection with, the company.