Fermented black beans, also called douchi, have been used as a seasoning in Chinese cuisine for over two millenia. This condiment predates soy sauce and is made by salting and fermenting black soybeans to yield a product that is aromatic, distinctive, and explosively flavorful. Fermented black beans are incredibly rich in umami and is an essential part of steamed dishes, fillings, and sauces.
Uses: Cook black beans lightly in oil or water to bring out its aroma and flavor before adding the rest of your ingredients. It is excellent in conjunction with oyster and soy sauce to make black bean sauce or as a topping for steamed fish.