Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce


Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce is a tried and try recipe that I make every spring. I only make it at this time of year when the asparagus is at its’ peak. After enjoying asparagus simply steamed with butter I’m ready to try something different.

No surprise that it is an Asian sauce that appeals to me.

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A Seasonal Strategy

Don’t be fooled by the abundance of choice at the grocery store. Foods are flown in from all over the globe and sadly many do not benefit from that travel. Regardless of where your produce comes from it does actually have a peak season.

As a young cook (before Google) I wanted to know what produce was in season. Eventually I learned and began to look forward to raspberries in July, corn in August and tomatoes in September. Of course I enjoy these foods at other times but the taste of produce locally grown, fresh from a garden is worth looking for.

So I encourage you to include a seasonal strategy into your cooking. This adds variety to your weekly menu and over time you develop certain dishes that you look forward to during their peak season.

Spring is asparagus season so enjoy it. The season is short.

Make as many recipes as you can. Eat it in cold salads, as a topping on pizza, pureed in soup, grilled with a favourite marinade or create a fancy pattern in the middle of a baked egg dish. There is no end to delicious asparagus recipes.

Soon enough the prices become exorbitant and the asparagus doesn’t look fresh. That’s how you know asparagus season is over.

Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce

At my Asian grocery store I buy this round, yellow cardboard box of Yang Jiang fermented black beans. The exact same one I’ve been buying for thirty years. You can read more about this ingredient in my post on fermented black soybeans. They have a unique umami taste and in this recipe the flavours explode in your mouth. Serve this Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce beside simply steamed fish or grilled chicken.

Let me know in the comments below if you have used Chinese black beans and what you thought of this recipe.

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More Recipes with Black Beans

Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce

Asparagus with Black Bean Butter Sauce is a tried and try recipe that I make every spring when asparagus is at its' peak.
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Asparagus with black bean butter sauce


  • 2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp butter


  • ½ cup gluten free chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • tsp pepper


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds


  • Coarsely chop fermented black beans. Combine with garlic and set aside.
  • In a 1-cup measuring cup combine chicken stock, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and pepper.


  • Fill large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and pat dry.


  • In a small bowl whisk cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water. Set aside.
  • Place 2 Tbsp butter in a 10-inch skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • When butter sizzles add black beans and garlic. Sauté just until the garlic sizzles.
  • Add sauce and bring to a low boil.
  • Add cornstarch mixture and immediately stir sauce until thickened. (For a thinner sauce add only half of the cornstarch mixture.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp butter.
  • Arrange asparagus in serving dish. Pour on sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • Dick Lunde says:

    Waaay back in the 70s, my wife and I took some cooking lessons at a Chinese grocery store in Chicago. Several of the recipes we learned used fermented black beans. One of my favorites, which I’ve made now and again over the years, is chicken and vegetables in black bean and garlic sauce. I’ve also had this in a number of restaurants. I usually make it (or ask the restaurant to make it) a little spicy. We also use them in a steamed fish dish and a few other things.

    Your black bean butter sauce for asparagus sounds good. I’ll probably try it once I get some black beans again. I used to be able to get them at a local oriental store, but they stopped carrying them, and a couple of other local oriental stores carry premade sauces, but not the dry salted beans. They are, of course, available on Amazon, and they’ll be on my next order. I appreciate your identification of Yang Jiang as a good brand– I was wondering which to order.


    • Cinde Little says:

      Hi Dick, thanks for sharing those memories! I started buying Yang Jiang black beans way back in the 80’s. 🙂 I too remember a steamed fish recipe I used to make with them. I’m sure you remember when you couldn’t even buy black bean sauce in a jar. When I started cooking gluten free I was happy to know I had so many recipes (somewhere in my files) to easily make a gluten free version. Black bean sauce and kecap manis were the first two I made since I love all things Asian. Let me know what you make when you get your black beans. Cheers!

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