These very pungent beans are an ancient Chinese cooking staple, and have been fermented since 2,500 years ago. They are made from partially decomposed soybeans which are then dried and sometimes salted. They are sold usually in three styles – plain, with garlic, and with ginger. They taste very pungent and salty. Use for sauces with fresh garlic and fresh ginger. Always place in a sieve and rinse with water (or soak for 30 mins) before using to wash away excess salt.
Stored in a dark cool place and they will last indefinitely. Leftovers from opened cans or bags can be stored in a tightly covered jar in a dark cool place.
Black beans are also very handy when you want a dark salty flavour to replace non-vegetarian ingredients in sauces, soups and stews.
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