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.


Aside from her proven attributes as a dynamic professional who knows how to work constructively on many different levels, Penni is uncompromising in her sincere wish to see that other people are treated honestly whether with decent wines or good prose or anything else that we may need.

-M. F. K. Fisher

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