Stir-Fried Asparagus in Black Bean Sauce

Asparagus is expensive even when in season, but it is so exquisite a treat it is worth buying as often as you can. Not a traditional ingredient of Southeast Asian cuisines, it has been very quickly incorporated during this century. It goes well with this pungent and robust black bean sauce, a traditional Chinese seasoning. With rice and another light dish, this recipe forms a complete meal for two.


  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons black beans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chilli bean sauce
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


Cut the asparagus diagonally into 7.5 cm (3 in) lengths.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil. When hot, add the ginger, garlic and black beans and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the chilli bean sauce and, a few seconds later, add the asparagus and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, sugar and rice wine. Cook the mixture over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the sesame oil, give the mixture a couple of stirs, and serve at once.