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Broccoli with Fermented Black Bean Sauce from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim

Broccoli With Fermented Black Bean Sauce

Beef and broccoli with black bean sauce was a favorite our mom made when we were growing up. For her stir-fry sauce, she used canned fermented black bean paste, which is made with soy sauce, sugar, fermented black bean puree, and sesame oil. I prefer whole fermented black beans, since they’re easy to get now at Asian markets and have an amazing, earthy umami richness. Otherwise, this stir-fry is our ma’s recipe exactly. The Asian holy trinity of ginger, garlic, and chiles—plus a little Shaoxing wine—rounds out the flavors. If you don’t like broccoli, try green beans, asparagus, or bok choy. Add some mushrooms, edamame, or any kind of soy protein to make it a main dish. —Chad
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Keyword broccoli in black bean sauce, wicked healthy cookbook
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Yields 4 servings
Calories 218 kcal
Author Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno


Black Bean Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon agave or other sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or thinly sliced fresh chiles
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 white onion sliced thin
  • tablespoons fermented black beans rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1- inch piece fresh ginger minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 dried red chiles such as cayenne
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ cup sliced water chestnuts (fresh or canned)
  • About ½ cup vegetable stock


  1. For the sauce: Whisk together the wine, tamari, agave, sambal oelek, sesame oil, and pepper. Whisk in the cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. For the vegetables: Have everything prepped and ready to cook. The cooking will go really fast, so it’s crucial to have everything prepped. Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over the highest heat. You want the pan blisteringly hot. Pour the oil around the edge of the pan to evenly cover the surface. Add the onion and stir-sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the black beans, garlic, ginger, and dried chiles; stir-sizzle another 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and water chestnuts. Use a spatula to press the broccoli against the wok to sear and get some color on it, 15 to 30 seconds more. Add ¼ cup of the stock and continue stir-frying to steam the broccoli and soften it, about another 15 seconds.
  3. Add the sauce and stir-fry until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute. The sauce should thicken and coat the broccoli. If it’s too thick, add a little more stock so the sauce lightly glazes the vegetables. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from the book THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.