Black bean sauce isn’t traditionally used for sushi, but I find that its robust flavor pairs well with mild vegetables. Fermented black soybeans add a depth of umami, a savory basic flavor, to this sauce that cannot be otherwise achieved with substituted ingredients.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: about 5 minutes
Makes about 1 cup (250 ml)

2 teaspoons Chinese black beans
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) Vegetarian Dashi (page 27) or low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch (corn flour), dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Place the Chinese black beans in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 5 minutes, then drain.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and green onion. Sauté for 1 minute to release fragrances.
Add the Vegetarian Dashi or stock, rice vinegar, soy sauce and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the potato starch mixture. Stir well to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
Refrigerate tightly covered if not using immediately.