Black Bean Salmon

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Black Bean Salmon with a side of soy marinated cucumber and pickled carrot.

I know this black bean salmon is not something that comes from any specific cuisine, but it was quite fun to make. If you have ever had proper Cantonese food chances are you have had something with black bean paste. This is basically fermented black beans and dark soy sauce and it brings a great umami flavor to dishes. I’ve never made salmon with it before, but I had this slab and figured why not.

The black bean paste comes from Lee Kum Kee, one of the top condiment manufacturers in Hong Kong if not the world. It’s quite hard to describe the flavor, but it is a little tangy, a little fishy, very pungent, and very rich. You don’t need a lot of it at all and this black bean salmon recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon of it. This is the same brand that I use for my popular HK style shrimp in black bean sauce.

black bean salmon ingredients: black bean sauce, fish sauce, african pepper sauce, lime juice.

Since I wasn’t creating something authentic I decided to get extra creative with what I have on hand. Aside from the black bean sauce I added some fish sauce, lime juice, African pepper sauce, and a bit of paprika. In the picture above you’ll see dark soy sauce, but after realizing how salty the black bean sauce and the fish sauce already are I opted to leave it out.

Under the paper towel is the slab of salmon. It is important to dry the fish a bit so the sauce does not just slide right off. After mixing up the sauce I just spoon it over the fish (after having salted the skin) and spread it out.

salmon with black bean sauce before being cooked

I put a little olive oil in the pan on high heat and put the fish on skin side down. This gives it a great crispy skin which I love so much. Then after a few minutes I flip the fish so I am essentially frying the sauce that is covering the fish. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated because it can start to smoke quite a bit.

Searing the fish skin side first for the black bean salmon recipe

Along with this black bean salmon I did a little soy marinated cucumber and some pickled carrots and cabbage. For garnish (and extra kick) I sliced up some cayenne chilis since I had some left over after I made my Cayenne Chili Poppers.

salmon with black bean sauce and a side of soy marinated cucumber and pickled veggies

Black Bean Salmon

An Asian fusion recipe that takes delicious salmon and pairs it with a traditional Hong Kong black bean sauce
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Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Cantonese, Fusion
Keyword: Black Bean Salmon, Salmon
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Cost: $10


  • Pan


  • 300 grams Salmon more for more people, less for one person
  • 1 tbsp Black Bean Paste I used Lee Kum Kee
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tsp Pepper Sauce I used an African one, but any pepper sauce is fine if you want to make it a bit spicier
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil


  • In a bowl mix together all of the ingredients except the salmon and the olive oil.
  • Pat your salmon dry with paper towels and then salt the skin. Flip it over and spread the black bean sauce over the flesh of the fish.
  • In a skillet on high heat add the olive oil. When hot put the fish in skin side down and let it sear for about 5 minutes. Flip and sear for another 2-3 minutes. You can adjust these times depending on the size of your fish. I used a pretty large slab so it takes longer to cook.
  • Plate the fish and serve it hot.
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Black Bean Salmon

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