Chinese Sauces for Home Cooking

This page is a summary of the Chinese sauces that we commonly used in our Chinese home cooking, plus the examples of our recipes and the affiliate links of these sauces if you want to buy them on Amazon.

Chinese Sauce for Home Cooking

Chinese Sauce (1): Chili Broad Bean Paste

Pixian (Chili) Bean Paset, 郫县豆瓣酱, perhaps is the most used in our Chinese home cooking. It is a fermented bean paste originally made in Sichuan Province Pixian county, therefore it is called Pixian bean paste. You may find other brands of chili bean paste, but the brand of "Pixian" is the most well-known in the mainland China. It is a definitely number 1 choice for our home cooking. 

There are different brands at Amazon. As I mentioned early, the one we used is Pixian Braod Bean Paste. Click photo will direct you to more details on Amazon.

When to use it?
We often use it to add a rich flavour, especially for those "red cooked" (slowly cooked) dishes such a Red Cooked Carp, Red Cooked Ribs, Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken and more.

How to use it? 
The most common way we use it is to fry it at beginning, after the oil is heated up, add one third or half of a tea spoon (depending on the dish you are making). Just a very quick frying will help the bean paste release the flavour, smells really nice, then you can add other ingredients to cook. You may check the above mentioned dishes for more details. Because it is the fermented bean paste, it might contain some bacteria, we always fry it first rather than directly add it to the dish (like salad).    

How to store it?

For this product, the paste is packed in a plastic bag. When my parents used it, they normally transfer it into a glass or plastic jar, add some oil on top, then use a cap to seal the jar. Once sealed by oil, it can be stored in room temperature for a long time.

Alternatively, you can find another type, which has already put the paste in the jar for you. In Chinese it is called Hong You Dou Ban 红油豆瓣, meaning "red oil bean paste".

Sichuan Pixian Boad Bean Paste with Red Chili Oil | Hong You Dou Ban

What if I can’t or don't want to buy it from Amazon? Other options?

Pixian Bean Paste is rarely to see in the normal food market (in the UK) except in Chinese food shops. Sometime I would buy Lee Kim Kee, a famous brand from Hong Kong.  The way to use it is the same as Pixian chilli beam paste.

Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan)

Chinese Sauce (2): Black Bean Paste

Black beans are very common Chinese cooking ingredients, normally they are dried beans. The black bean paste is made with soft black beans with rich flavours, which is of our favourite Chinese sauces.

Check the ingredients, it is made with: Soybean, Chilli, Canola Oil, Salt, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, Sulfur Dixide, Sodium Sulfate.

One difference comparing to the chili bean paste is that it can be directly add to the salad dish or cold noodles, no need to cook it.

It is packed in a glass jar, with chilli oil on top, well-sealed. It can be stored in room temperature for very long time. The black bean is very soft and full of flavour. Sometime I cannot help just picking up the black beans and eat them directly, so it is always finished very quickly if I have one in house. 

The brand for this we used in China is Lao Gan Ma Black Bean Chilli Sauce

Some supermarkets in the UK have this made by Lao Gan Ma. Alternatively, Lee Kum Kee has the black bean with garlic sauce, which is available in most supermarkets. But I personally prefer the brand of Lao Gan Ma. 

Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Chinese Sauce (3): Chili Oil

The chili oil is a must-have when we make all kind of Sichuan salad dish, such as this Sichuan Cold Noodle and Bean Sprout Salad. It is also very convenient if you just want to add little bit spicy taste but not too rich flavor like chili bean paste, because chili oil normally is plain, not salty as the bean paste.

In my home, my parents would make their now chili oil together with other flavors too. If you are interested, you can have a look here: Chinese Homemade Chili Oil (with a video too).  

But you don’t have to to make it yourself because it is available from Amazon. I like Lee Kum Kee's chili oil. 

Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil

Same as the black bean paste, we also use the Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil in China. Note, this chili oil may contain the roasted peanuts.

Chinese Sauces (4) Sweet Bean & Noodle Sauce 

Sichuan Sweet Bean paste is called Tian Mian Jiang 甜面酱 in Chinese. The dish we like to use it is the Twice Cooked Pork Belly, my father always says for this dish, the sweet bean paste is a-must ingredient to have.  

Sweet Bean Paste / Tian Mian Jiang

In Chinese we have many noodle sauces with difefrent flavors. The noodle sauces are very convenient to use, can be used for boiled noodle or fried noodle dish. However, I can't find those noodle sauces on Amazon. Only one is for Chinese Dan Dan noodle, a popular Sichuan noodle dish. But I can find them avalabile in the Chinese shops in UK.

Lee Kum Kee Sichuan Spicy Noodle Sauce

Chinese Sauce (5): Soy Sauce & Wine Sauce

Light Soy Sauce & Dark Soy Sauce are very commonly used in our home cooking. Light soy sauce is used to add flavour, dark soy sauce is to add the dark brown colour that normally used for red cooked dish, such as Red Cook Carp or Red Cooked Rib Potatos. We used light soy sauce more often than the dark soy sauce. 

Vinegar is often used in our salad dish such as Steamed Eggplant and Sichuan Cold Noodle, or fish dish (only need little bit to help remove the fishy smell).

Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar is a famous brand in China and we used it for our home cooking. 

Cooking wine is often used when cook a meat dish, especially fish. The purpose is to remove some smells from the raw material. Some people like the special fragrant of wine, so they may use it to other meat dish to give some additional flavour. Only need add a small amount like one of two tea spoons to the dish would be fine.

The famous brand for cooking wine in China is SHAOHSING RICE COOKING WINE

Chinese Sauces (6): Oyster Sauce & Fish Sauce

The oyster sauce is normally used before end of the cooking, to add a little bit (1 or 2 tsp) to give some extra taste. You can use it for the meat, veggie or noodle dishes.

Fish sauce, obviously is for fish dish, especially like the Steamed Fish.

Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Soy Sauce for Seafood

Hope you find this page for Chinese sauces helpful. If so, please share with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

You may also like to see our Homemade Sauces (include some videos too). Also please subscribe to my Youtube Channel to get more Chinese home cooking videos.

(Updated: 07/03/2021)

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