How To Use Lee Kum Kee Bean Sauces In Your Asian Recipes
The story of Lee Kum Kee begins in 1888 when legend has it that a restauranteur from the south of China named Mr. Lee Kum Sheung was boiling a pot of oyster soup. Something distracted him and he forgot all about it until the soup had been simmering for so long it had reduced down to a thick gravy. Fearing that he had wasted his ingredients he tasted it and discovered that he had in fact created an irresistible, delicious new flavour completely by accident. Enthused by this discovery he began to sell ‘Oyster Sauce’, eventually becoming the founder of Lee Kum Kee. With a culinary heritage reaching back for more than one hundred and thirty years, Lee Kum Kee has grown to become perhaps the best known and the most authentic Chinese sauce brand in the World with their range of sauces equally likely to be found in the kitchens of Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants and in your kitchen at home.
Take Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Sauce. Also known as the “Toban Djan”, this is a unique Sichuan style paste that will bring an authentic south western Chinese flavour to your dishes. Comprising a perfect blend of fermented soya bean paste, garlic and chilli pepper this vibrant and spicy sauce can be used to bring an eastern twist all of to your favourite recipes for an oriental twist.
Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Sauce is also an absolutely essential ingredient for Kung Pao chicken. Just chop some chicken breasts into half inch cubes and stir fry with some chopped onions, chopped red and green bell peppers, a little ginger and perhaps some chillies if you like it hot. Add your Lee Kum Kee chilli bean sauce, bring the whole thing to the simmer until everything is nice and glossy and serve over rice or noodles with a handful of chopped spring onions sprinkled over the top as a garnish. That is a tasty, flavoursome dish for two to four people that can be made from scratch in mere minutes, perfect when you want to try something new for a mid-week evening meal
The Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Sauce can be used to bring some authentic Sichuan flavour to any stir fry dish and can be a real lifesaver when you have little time but want to deliver some big flavours. Switch out the chicken for pork and you have a great way to use up a weekend roast, or cut the meat entirely and throw in some pak choi and tofu for a meat free meal in minutes. The only limit is your imagination.
Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce is perhaps one of the most popular sauces in the range. Made from only the finest fermented black beans you can use this distinct and flavoursome sauce over rice or noodles or to bring a Chinese twist to any number of dishes. It is not particularly authentic, but we have to say that the wonderfully funky spicy sweetness of Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce even works on chips for a fast and easy vegetarian flavour hit.
If you are more traditionally minded you might combine this glistening sauce with lean strips of stir fried beef, shredded chicken or diced pork. Some onion and bell pepper - we find that green works best here because its slight bitterness cuts through the sweet saltiness of the black beans – chopped into reasonably sized chunks with perhaps some water chestnuts thrown in for a bit of added crunch and freshness and you have the basis for another quick and easy meal that can bring a sense of the exotic to your mid-week, or replace the weekend take-away with food you have had the fun of preparing yourself. You can also choose to treat Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce as a ready-to-use marinade that you can add to any number of dishes to get a real eastern taste sensation with the minimum of effort and mess.
For a tasty variation on a traditional black bean sauce Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce makes the perfect addition to your store cupboard. Made with the same high quality fermented black beans you found in the regular Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Sauce but with added minced garlic in the mix, Lee Kum Kee Black Bean and Garlic sauce is the perfect ingredient for stir fried or steamed dishes. Savoury and aromatic, Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce is a classic paste for making restaurant quality authentic Chinese dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Truly, when you can open a jar and add sauces of this quality to your cooking the only limit is your imagination. Keep these versatile flavoursome sauces in your store cupboard and you are giving yourself the ability to produce incredible meals from scratch in next to no time. Be bold, experiment with ingredients and flavours. Will Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Sauce work with a good firm white fish such as MonkFish? Can Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce work with Halloumi Cheese? How about Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce with a really good garlic sausage?
Are these pairings authentically Asian? Absolutely not. But the authentic pairings are well known and you can turn to them whenever you wish. Those traditional uses of Lee Kum Kee bean sauces are the bases to which we will always return. But another perfectly legitimate and fun use for Lee Kum Kee bean sauces is to give an Asian twist to whatever you happen to have in your fridge. So experiment. Pork meatballs in Lee Kum Kee black bean sauce? Why not? If Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce works with strips of stir fried beef, why not try it with a beef steak?
In the end, when you have an ingredient of the high quality you can expect from a Lee Kum Kee sauce, you can be confident that whatever you choose to pair it with you will get a great result. Whether you choose to be authentically Asian, or you decide to take the “fusion food” route and match the authentic Asian flavours you can rely on Lee Kum Kee sauces to deliver with more western fare you can be sure that you will never be lacking flavour or quality.
So stock up your store cupboard with these outstanding sauces and give yourself the ability to turn whatever you have left over in the fridge into a mouth watering midweek miracle, or the ability to impress your friends and family with authentically traditional Chinese meals. In the end the answer to the question “how to use Lee Kum Kee bean sauces in Asian recipes” is “How do you want to use them?” The beauty of these versatile store cupboard staples is that they set you free as a home cook. Let Lee Kum Kee allow you to deliver great tasting, absolutely authentic Chinese food, or let them help you produce non-Chinese dishes with a Chinese twist.
It is your kitchen. You are in control. Lee Kum Kee is simply making your job easier.
You are welcome. Go cook!