Perfect homemade Chinese-style beef in black bean sauce – it’s rich and delicious – full of umami flavour.
I’m going to show you how to make the most tender velvet beef – even using a cheap cut of beef, and also how to make your own black bean sauce.
If you’re short on time, I’ve included a shortcut, using shop-bought sauce too!

Beef in black bean sauce stir fry with boiled rice in a bowl, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds. The bowls is on a dark surface and there is a further bowl in shot. There is a small bowl of black and white sesame seeds nearby.


Soaking the black beans:

  • Start by soaking the fermented black beans. Place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for one hour.

    4 tablespoons fermented black beans

Velveting the beef:

  • Now velvet the beef. Place the beef in a bowl and sprinkle over the bicarbonate of soda.

    400 g (14 oz) beef steak, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • Rub the bicarbonate of soda into the beef so it’s thoroughly coated.

  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  • Thoroughly rinse the beef in cold water, drain, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Place in a bowl, ready to use in your stir fry.

Making the black bean sauce:

  • Once the beans have soaked for an hour, drain and thoroughly rinse them.

  • Place the drained black beans in a bowl and give them a bit of a mash with the back of a fork. I like to mash up about three-quarters and leave the rest whole.

  • Add the sesame and rapeseed oil to a small saucepan. Heat over a medium heat.

    1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

  • Add the garlic, ginger and black beans and fry for one minute, stirring often, until fragrant.

    3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon minced ginger

  • Add the rice wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, pepper and stock.

    2 tablespoon Shaoxing Chinese rice wine – or use dry sherry, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons granulated or caster sugar, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 180 ml ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock

  • Stir together, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly reduced.

  • Stir in half the cornflour slurry to thicken the sauce. Add more if you’d like the sauce thicker, then turn off the heat.

    1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch in USA)

Bringing it all together:

  • Toss the tenderised beef in the salt and pepper.

    1 pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • Heat the two oils oil in a wok over a high heat.

    1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rapeseed/avocado or other neutral oil

  • Add the beef and fry, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until the beef is just cooked.

  • Add the onion, red and green peppers and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until slightly softened.

    1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper

  • Add the black bean sauce, fry, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce is heated through.


  • Serve over boiled rice, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds.

    Boiled rice, Sliced spring onions, Mixed sesame seeds

✎ Notes

Don’t want to make your own black bean sauce?
Replace the black bean sauce in this recipe with 250ml store-bought black bean sauce. *Flavour tip* – Check the ingredients on the side of the bottle, if it doesn’t contain garlic and ginger, add 3 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger into the stir fry at the the same time as the onions and peppers. 
Don’t want to velvet the beef?
The velveting process is needed for cheaper, more tough cuts of meat, to make them more tender.
If you don’t want to velvet the beef, but you still want tender, juicy meat, you’ll need to go with a more expensive cut of steak – such as ribeye or sirloin. Slice the steak into thin strips, against the grain, before using.

Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (this  recipe serves 4) – NOT INCLUDING the rice.


Calories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 27gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1083mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1060IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg

Keywords Beef Stir Fry, fermented black beans, steak

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Hi I’m Nicky

I love to cook and I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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