Sunday, July 15, 2007

Steamed Black Cod with Chinese black bean sauce

Fermented black beans are small, black soybeans that have been preserved in salt. Also known as Chinese black beans or salty or salted black beans, they have a strong, salty flavor. Once you try them, they will become a staple in your pantry!

This recipe is based on a basic black bean stir fry which gets its fragrance from a mix of chopped garlic, ginger and green onion and some chopped fermented black beans. The smell of these four stir frying together is just fantastic.

Because of it's rich and firm texture Black Cod also known as Sable fish takes extremely well to steaming. In this case, a mixture of chinese fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and cognac is poured over the fish prior to steaming.

This is one of my secret weapon recipe, so easy to prepare and guaranteed to vow your guests. It's okay, don't mention it... take all the credit for it!
Check the link below if you have trouble locating those precious black beans (they are actually quite inexpensive!).

Steamed Black Cod with Chinese Black Bean Sauce. (serves 4)

  • 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup Cognac

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 4 (6 ounces) Black Cod filet

  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat, melted

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons Fermented black beans, coarsely chopped
  • 4 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • a few drops of Sesame Oil


  1. Combine the cornstarch, water, soy sauce, cognac and sugar in a small bowl. Mix and reserve.

  2. Heat the bacon fat in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and black beans and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms and scallions and continue saute until translucent, 1 minute more.

  3. Deglaze the pan with the cornstarch mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Stir until sauce thickens and remove from the heat.

  4. Set up a steamer large enough to hold a plate with the 4 black cod filet.

  5. Pour the black bean mixture evenly over the fish fillets and place in the steamer.

  6. Steam for 5 minutes until fish is opaque and cooked throughout.

  7. Serve immediately with rice and bok choy.



Voix said...

This sounds awesome. I'm totally going to try it. What if I can't find Black Cod? Do you have any other more common recommendations for people stuck in the Midwest?

Also, how do you cook bok choy? I've always found it a very intimidating vegetable.

Fun blog, you should keep it up!

Zen Chef said...

Bonsoir!! I think regular Atlantic Cod would work just fine as well as Chilean Sea Bass or even Salmon.
Any fatty fish is good for steaming. This is a really good recipe straight from my secret's chest, let me know what you think.
Bok choy can be simply steamed or better, quickly sauteed in a little olive oil with a few thin slices of garlic. Once the garlic turns golden brown, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock and cover for a minute over medium heat. Season to taste, et voila!
Je parle bien le francais, n'est ce pas?