I admire people who can write beautifully, especially about food, and that’s one of the reasons why I admire Carolyn Jung, A.K.A. Food Gal, a food and wine writer extraordinaire. Food Gal is an award-winning food blog about recipes, restaurants, celeb chefs, and everything food and wine related. I love great food writing and that’s why I am often glued to Food Gal, secretly wishing that I could write half as good as Carolyn. Please welcome Carolyn at FoodGal.com to Rasa Malaysia and let’s celebrate her black bean Brussels sprouts recipe. It’s truly a great honor to have her here!
As a child, I vividly remember my Mom hovering over the blender in the kitchen, as it noisily whirred away.
She’d lift the lid to reveal a most pungent smell that would fill the entire house, and cause me to fairly jump back from the counter. It was a potent, fermented and garlicky fragrance that really jolted the nose. And I loved it, because it was her homemade black bean sauce that she used liberally to punch up so many of her dishes.
As an adult now, I’ve made my own black bean sauce now and again. But truth be told, what I most reach for is the pre-made, handy stuff in the jar that I almost always have in the fridge.
Yes, there I said it – I use a jarred sauce. I’m not ashamed of it, either. After all, who amongst us makes all their own ketchup, mustard, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and other condiments? Do I see one hand out there? That’s what I thought.
Make no apologies for using a ready-made product, not when it’s a good one that can make your hectic life a little easier.
I reach for my store-bought jar of black bean sauce often when I’m whipping up a no-hassle, no-brainer stir-fry dish for dinner. Whether it be a mix of vegetables, pork, shrimp, beef, or chicken or noodles, a tablespoon or so of that unmistakable sharp, salty, thick, concentrated sauce really gives a dish presence. No matter what else is on the table, a dish with black bean sauce commands attention. It’s no shrinking violet; it’s the person with a big personality who wakes up the room.
Fresh winter Brussels sprouts and hum-drum ground pork combine in this dish with black bean sauce to become something much greater than the sum of their parts. Some chopped fresh ginger and yellow onion, plus a few rehydrated dried shiitakes add even more complex flavor and texture.
Served over fluffy, steamed rice, it makes for a quick and easy meal. Even quicker, too, if you use the stuff in the jar. Go ahead, you absolutely can without a shred of guilt.