Stir Fried Pork and Cabbage with Black Bean Sauce

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Fermented black beans are most at home in simple stir fries where they can add pungency and unite a few key players. This is my take on black bean sauce, less gloppy and more intensely flavored than what you'll find at your local Chinese take-out. When made with a hefty dose of black beans it's salty, sweet, and perfumed with a funk that could improve just about anything. I went with pork and cabbage: a natural pair, especially when they meet the caramelizing heat of the wok. This stir fry may not be as easy as dialing in delivery, but it's not that much harder either, and it tastes much better.

Stir Fried Pork and Cabbage with Black Bean Sauce

About This Recipe

Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
Special equipment:wok (or large sauté pan)
This recipe appears in: Spice Hunting: Chinese Fermented Black Soy Beans


  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light (regular) soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine, divided
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black soy beans
  • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 3 quarts)
  • 4 tablespoons oil, divided


  1. 1

    Toss pork in a bowl with ginger, garlic, 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Let sit while preparing remaining ingredients. In small bowl combine remaining soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch with vinegar and fermented black beans. Stir to completely dissolve cornstarch.

  2. 2

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok or large skillet over high heat until smoking. Add pork and stir fry until almost fully cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Transfer pork to plate and return wok to high heat. Add remaining oil.

  3. 3

    When wok smokes again, add cabbage, tossing to coat with oil. When cabbage has just started to wilt and become crispy on edges (about 1 minute) return pork to wok along with reserved black bean sauce. Stir fry until cabbage is just tender and pork is cooked through, another 2-3 minutes. Salt to taste before transferring to a bowl or platter. Serve with rice and a drizzle of Sriracha.

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