Cooking from the Pantry: Black Bean Hot Sauce

heavenly chef black bean hot sauceWhen there’s a jar of black bean hot sauce in the cupboard, I am only a microwaved potato or a bowl of noodles away from a snack or a quick meal.

I discovered Heavenly Chef’s Yang Cheng Black Bean Hot Sauce when I was working with Richard Wong on his Modern Asian Flavors, A Taste of Shanghai (Chronicle Books). It immediately became a pantry staple. When G makes fried rice, I add a spoonful to my portion. Or I’ll cook up some Chinese noodles or soba noodles and toss them with some tahini and the black bean hot sauce. It would make a great crab with black bean dish and I have no idea why I’ve never done it. I still remember making Wolfgang Puck’s crab with black bean sauce (I made it for a friend’s rehearsal dinner.) and how amazingly good that was.


yam with black bean hot sauce

I probably haven’t because I keep it as a private pleasure, for a meal I look forward to eating alone. I do not think of sharing, of suggesting: Hey, I know, let’s have baked sweet potatoes with hot sauce for dinner! There are times when I look at the yams and potatoes at the store and long for a night when everyone is gone and I can revel in the flavor play of pungent black beans, chile heat, hint of orange zest and sweet, soft potato. And if you add cooling yogurt? Well!

Although, one afternoon, I did make it for J when he arrived in the kitchen hungry. I had just made one for myself dressed up with scallions and cilantro. He judged it a good, and filling, pile of food. Healthy, too. Maybe when he grows up and away, he, too, will turn to this dish for comfort and a blast of flavor.


One of the more knowledgeable wine and food writers on the scene today. I have watched her over the years and have always been impressed with her dedication to quality, literate style and organized mind.

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About Penni

Over 30 years as a food and wine professional, writer, and editor.

Cookbook author including:
'The Tra Vigne Cookbook' for Michael Chiarello,
'The Basque Kitchen' for Gerald Hirigoyen
and 'BurgerBar' for Hubert Keller.

Contact Penni Wisner