New Recipes

Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts and Pork in Black Bean Sauce

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 to Rasa Malaysia and let’s celebrate her black bean Brussels sprouts recipe. It’s truly a great honor to have her here!

By Carolyn Jung (

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.

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25 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Kate

    This is such a great idea, pairing Brussels sprouts with black bean sauce and pork, and mushrooms, yummy. Great recipe and write-up!

  2. That’s how I like my brussel sprouts to be cooked, a quick stir fry with strong flavour instead of just blanched it to sogginess. Gong Xi Fa Chai to you and wish you a prosperous new year! 步步高升!

    • Thank you, Billy! Happy New Year to you and your family, too.
      Yeah, Brussels sprouts have spawned legions of haters only because people have overcooked them. They get mushy that way, plus smell up the whole house with that strong cabbage-y aroma. But cooking them quickly eliminates all of that. They stay crunchy on the outside, yet soften a bit on the inside. And no smell to worry about. ;)

  3. I agree completely. I”m sure most cooks appreciate a shortcut that does not skimp on flavor. A few precious minutes or hours gives the family cook an opportunity to enjoy life’s other pleasures – family, friends, and, yes, a little quiet time for the mind. I also second Stephanie’s request on your recommendation for the jarred bean sauce.

  4. JasonZ

    Hi Carolyn!

    Wonderful photos and recipe … but I wonder if you could also share with us your childhood recipe for black bean sauce, so when we do feel the need to “make from scratch”, we have a fab recipe to turn to …



    • I wish I could. But I’d have to go on memory for that childhood sauce. Let this be a lesson to everyone out there: Do not put off asking your Mom or Dad to write down your favorite dishes that they make. How many of us tell ourselves, “Yeah, yeah, yah — I’ll get to that some day.” Before you know it, time flies and then it’s too late to do it. My parents both passed away three years ago. I have but a handful of their recipes written down. I cherish each and every one of them, quite a few of which I’ve written about on my own blog, too. But what I wouldn’t give to be able to turn back the hands of time to be able to ask them to write down so many more. Sigh.

  5. Tuty @Scentofspice

    I’ve been reading Carolyn’s column for many years and still read her blog regularly.
    I agree that one should not feel less of a good cook when using pre-made sauce or seasoning mix.

  6. tony

    Hello Carolyn
    Thanks for the brussels sprout recipe, I have always wanted to marry something healthy
    in our asian dishes.
    Definitely one to try out.

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