Beef in Black Bean Sauce is my Slow Cooker version of a classic Chinese recipe. A rich, sweet and sticky sauce with tender pieces of beef and a hint of chilli. It’s easy to make and delicious served with plain boiled rice and fresh stir-fried vegetables.
Why cook Beef in Black Bean Sauce in the Slow Cooker?
Beef in Black Bean Sauce is usually a stir-fry recipe. It’s very popular as a takeaway (takeout) from Chinese restaurants. There are also many recipes for Beef in Black Bean Sauce available in cookbooks, magazines, and online. Including an easy stir-fry recipe from my friends at Lost in Food and one from Jamie Oliver.
While I enjoy stir fry, I don’t always want to be chopping and cooking at the end of the day and particularly just before my meal is served. With this recipe, I prepare the ingredients early in the day. Then I put everything in the slow cooker, and only have the rice and vegetables to cook before serving.
What kind of beef can I use for Slow Cooker Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
I use a less expensive cut of beef to make this recipe. This is another good reason to make the recipe in a Slow Cooker because it is possible to make a fabulous tasting recipe with stewing or braising cuts of meat. The long slow cooking breaks down the beef and makes it tender. For a good stir-fry recipe, you are going to have to pay for a more expensive grilling or frying cut of steak.
What ingredients do I need for Slow Cooker Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. If you like to cook Chinese food then you will have many of them in your larder already.
You will need:
- Oyster Sauce
- Cornflour (cornstarch)
- Stewing or Braising Beef
- Red (Bell) Pepper
- Yellow (Bell) Pepper
- Black Bean Sauce
- Red Chillies
- Chinese Rice Wine (Shaoxing)
- Light Soy Sauce
- Dark Soy Sauce
What is the difference between Light Soy Sauce and Dark Soy sauce?
Soy sauce is an essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is made from a fermented mixture of soybeans, flour and water. You need both light and dark soy sauce in this recipe.
Light Soy Sauce
As you would expect Light soy sauce is lighter in colour but it is full of flavour and saltier than dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce is one most used in cooking Chinese recipes.
Dark Soy Sauce
Dark Soy Sauce is aged longer than light soy sauce and is almost black. This sauce is also thicker and makes a good dipping sauce. It is also very good in stews where the more robust flavour holds up in longer cooking.
What is Black Bean Sauce?
Black Bean sauce is one of the most popular Chinese sauces. The key ingredients are fermented black beans, garlic and soy sauce, and sometimes ginger and sugar too. Black Bean Sauce is readily available in bottles or sachets. Black Bean sauce tastes aromatic, salty, and slightly sweet, it also has an earthy taste with a little bitterness.
What is Chinese Rice Wine and what can I substitute?
Shaoxing or Shaohsing rice wine is made from rice, millet, and yeast that has been aged for 3-5 years. In a recipe, rice wine takes the rawness out of meats and fish and gives a bittersweet finish. Shaoxing wine is available in most supermarkets, online, and in specialist Chinese stores. However, if you can’t find it then dry sherry makes a good substitute.
What can I serve with Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
I like to serve plain boiled rice with this recipe. I think the plain rice works well with the beef and sauce because they are rich and flavourful.
Chinese families always have a rice cooker that makes perfect rice every time. However, if you don’t have a rice cooker and you have difficulty achieving nice fluffy white rice, then try this method, it works every time for me:
- Measure your rice by volume e.g in a mug, a measuring cup, or a measuring jug.
- Rinse the rice well in lots of clean water, drain, and put it into a saucepan.
- Add twice the volume of cold water to the rice and add salt.
- Bring the water to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and put the lid on the pan. Leave for another 5-6 minutes.
- The rice will absorb the water and be fully cooked.
- Separate the rice grains with a fork and serve.
What kind of vegetables are good with Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
I like to serve stir-fried sugarsnap peas with this recipe. Simply heat a little oil to a medium high heat, add garlic and ginger and then put in sugarsnap peas which have been halved or cut into thirds, depending on how big they are. Stir them around with the spices until they are heated through. They should still have a little bit of a crunch.
Other vegetables you can stir-fry and serve with Beef in Black Bean Sauce:
- Spring greens
- Tenderstem broccoli
- Baby Corn
- Spring Onions
- Pak Choi (Bok Choi)
There are many more, but these are all good with this recipe. Cut the vegetables into even-sized pieces so that they cook evenly. You don’t have to stick to one vegetable, you can mix and match the different vegetables in your stir-fry.
More side dishes to complement this recipe
- Tenderstem Broccoli with Oyster Sauce & Garlic – Curly’s Cooking
- Egg Fried Rice – Feast Glorious Feast
- Easy Vegetable Stir Fry – Lost in Food
Can I freeze Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
Yes, you can freeze the beef once it has been fully cooked. Spoon it into a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. I freeze this dish before adding the red and yellow peppers because they lose a lot of texture on freezing.
Defrost the Beef in Black Bean Sauce in the fridge. Then add the peppers and reheat the beef on the stovetop or in a covered casserole dish in the oven until piping hot.
How do I serve Slow Cooker Beef in Black Bean Sauce?
Serve the Beef in Black Bean sauce with the rice and stir-fried vegetables and top with slices of fresh chilli, sliced spring onoins and sesame seeds.
If you like this recipe then try these:
Beef in Black Bean Sauce (Slow Cooker)
- Sharp knife
- chopping board
- Slow Cooker
- large frying pan or saute pan
- Measuring spoons
For the Marinade
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp cornflour
For the Beef
- 500 g stewing steak
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 40 g ginger root grated
- 120 g black bean sauce
- 2 red chillies sliced
- 2 tsp Chinese rice wine
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100 ml water
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 large yellow pepper
For the marinade
- Mix together the oyster sauce and cornflour in a large container.
- Add the diced stewing steak to the marinade and stir to cover the pieces in the sauce.
- Cover and put the beef and marinade into the fridge for at least an hour. You can do this preparation the night before, and leave the beef in the marinade overnight.
Prepare the spices and sauces
- Grate the ginger, crush the garlic, and slice the chillies.
- Peel the onion and cut into wedges.
- Gather together all your sauces, and seasonings and measure them into a bowl.
To cook the Beef in Black Bean Sauce
- Heat the oil in a large pan or the base of your slow cooker if you have one that goes on the stove top.
- Add the beef and marinade to the hot oil and brown the beef. If there is too much to brown at one time, do this in two barches.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 5 hours.
- After 5 hours, add the deseeded and sliced red and yellow peppers, stir through the sauce, close the slow cooker and cook on LOW for another hour.
- Serve with plain boiled rice and stir fried vegetables.
This recipe is part of the #CookBlogShare link up for great blogger recipes. This week it is hosted by Sew White.