Steamed Black Cod w/ Chinese Black Bean Sauce

Fermented black beans are small, black soybeans that have been preserved in salt. Also known as Chinese black beans or salty or salted black beans, they have a strong, salty flavor. Once you try them, they will become a staple in your pantry!

This recipe is based on a basic black bean stir fry which gets its fragrance from a mix of chopped garlic, ginger and green onion and some chopped fermented black beans. The smell of these four stir frying together is just fantastic.

Because of it’s rich and firm texture Black Cod also known as Sable fish takes extremely well to steaming. In this case, a mixture of chinese fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and cognac is poured over the fish prior to steaming.

This is one of my secret weapon recipe, so easy to prepare and guaranteed to vow your guests. It’s okay, don’t mention it… take all the credit for it!
Check the link below if you have trouble locating those precious black beans (they are actually quite inexpensive!).

Steamed Black Cod with Chinese Black Bean Sauce. (serves 4)


  • 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 (6 ounces) Black Cod filet
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat, melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Fermented black beans, coarsely chopped
  • 4 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • a few drops of Sesame Oil


  1. Combine the cornstarch, water, soy sauce, cognac and sugar in a small bowl. Mix and reserve.
  2. Heat the bacon fat in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and black beans and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms and scallions and continue saute until translucent, 1 minute more.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the cornstarch mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Stir until sauce thickens and remove from the heat.
  4. Set up a steamer large enough to hold a plate with the 4 black cod filet.
  5. Pour the black bean mixture evenly over the fish fillets and place in the steamer.
  6. Steam for 5 minutes until fish is opaque and cooked throughout.
  7. Serve immediately with rice and bok choy.


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  • xdude

    This was a fabulous meal.

    We made some changes,however–instead of rice, try it with wasabi mashed potatoes with the
    leftover bacon. Instead of cognac I used a plum wine, u can use sake as well… Hands down on this recipe! Presentation was amazing!!!

  • Jeff West

    I learned a lot from this post and although I don’t like steamed proteins I do plan to use the techniques you discuss for adding black beans to many of my other recipes. Thank you. PS your street cred shot way up when I saw that you cooked with Eric Ripert. That must have been an experience.