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Là Jiāo Jiàng

La Jiang Jiao

Are you feeling saucy tonight? Getting ready to have a little fun this weekend?

I know just the culinary cure to add a little zest, zing and warmth into your menu's with a little homemade spicy black bean paste or homemade Chinese chili garlic paste (Là Jiāo Jiàng).

La Jiang Jiao

My hungry teenagers love spicy food and we practically go though a jar of chili garlic sauce every week. I know it may seem excessive but they also go through mass amounts of food, so I guess that figure is all relative.

La Jiang Jiao

I started to evaluate our usage and our profit margins of making this sauce at home. I don't know the cost of chilies where you live, but it is super cheap in Hong Kong, and much better alternative then buying a jar of chili garlic paste every week.

La Jiang Jiao

However, the real reason why I decided to start making my own spicy black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce at home is reading the additives on the back label of the sauce.

La Jiang Jiao

The first offender on the list was "wheat". Oh, lucky me, I'm gluten intolerant. Then the second item on the ingredient was sugar, I ask why? Then of course some flavor enhancers, sulfites and some weird things I cannot pronounce but I am sure it should not be in our food.

La Jiang Jiao

I really am a huge fan of Lee Kum Lee products, but just don't want the additives, so I looked at the back of the ingredient list on the jars to see what items I would be using and not be using in Bam's Kitchen.  I did not have a recipe to follow, just the ingredients in Bam's test Kitchen.  I tried many versions, several different times, and several different ways to get the end result I liked. Below is a picture of fermented black beans with garlic.

La Jiang Jiao

Wow!!! Wee!!! My sinuses are so clear now!!!!! Now a little word to the wise on this whole procedure, ventilate, ventilate and make sure you ventilate your kitchen when making these little sauces. After chopping the chilies, do not touch your face, eyes or use the bathroom until you wash your hands super well. You have to just trust me on this as I might blush if I have to go on to explain this in detail.

La Jiang Jiao

In the end, I decided to make two different kinds of Chili sauce as the first few ingredients and cooking process is identical. I made a basic chili garlic sauce and a spicy black bean sauce. During the experimentation process, I cooked one of my chili garlic sauces about 20 minutes until a nice "jungle colored red".

La Jiang Jiao

The other basic garlic chili sauce was supposed to come off at the same time but I was slightly distracted and the color changed from a "jungle red" to a more "dark burgundy red".  A great happy accident as the chilies almost caramelize and slightly sweeten naturally and my boys quite liked this version. Photo below is a picture of the spicy black bean sauce.

La Jiang Jiao

Do you want added flavor in your dishes, but do not like the heat, then feel free to switch this recipe up using some sweet red bell peppers. I like a tiny bit of spice but not like it too hot so feel. So free to play around with the types of chilies and bell peppers to get just the right amount of heat you prefer. You could make these sauces anywhere from sweet and tangy all the way up to inferno hot. Have fun with it and let me know how it goes.


If you're looking for great little zest to go in your dipping sauce to go with our lettuce wraps , or a delicious little garlic chili sauce in your mapo tofu, or maybe a little spicy black bean sauce in your beef and broccoli stir fry Keep on reading to check out my saucy recipes below.



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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Là Jiāo Jiàng

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , ,   

March 9, 2013

Homemade spicy black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce

  • Cook: 30 mins


oil - 2-4 teaspoons ( I used canola oil and you may have to add some additional during the cooking process to prevent sticking)

garlic - 5 cloves minced

onion - 1/2 onion minced

chili peppers - 8 ounces ( I used an assortment of types such as bird chilis, Chinese Kung Pao)

rice wine (shao xing) - 1 tablespoon

rice vinegar - 2 teaspoons

salt - to taste ( about 1 teaspoon)

sugar or sugar alternative - 2 packets splenda (or 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar alternative of choice)

fermented black soy beans - 1/3 cup chopped (wash them well first)


1Open up the windows and ventilate the kitchen

2Remove stems from chili peppers and chop into pieces (leaving the seeds) and place into the food processor with a little oil about a teaspoon just to get it moving. (dont add water as then you have to cook off the moisture later) The goal is a finely chopped pepper. If you do not have a food processor, you can chop by hand. Feel free to mix up the type of chili peppers to get your desired heat. If you want it slightly sweet and tangy then add bell peppers. If you want more heat use more Thai Bird chilies.

3Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in frying pan and add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent and aromatic, add your chili peppers and cook for about one minute. Reduce heat to a low medium heat.

4Add rice wine, rice vinegar, sugar or sugar alternative and salt to taste and continue to cook very slowly over low heat and stir gently over the next 20-30 minutes or until your your chillies are a beautiful deep jungle red color. You may have to another teaspoon of oil during the cooking process as the water cooks off to prevent sticking. Just cook it low and slow.

5If you want to make spicy black bean chili sauce then add your chopped fermented black soy beans along with the other ingredients listed in step 4.

6The length of time for cooking depends on you stove top, just keep stirring until the color is a deep red and no remaining moisture.

7Let your Chili garlic sauce and/or your spicy black bean sauce cool. Transfer chili sauces to a sealed tupperware, place in refrigerator and use within 3 weeks. Alternatively if you are into that whole canning thing you could sterilize canning jars, add chili sauces, top with oil and seal for longer shelf life.

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker

    WOW that is so cool, making your own chili sauce! My husband loves them and we usually just buy ours. But I can see why you make it at home if you go through a jar a week! 😉 I might have to make this too. The only red chili peppers I see at my local market is red jalapeno peppers, will that work?

  • I must admit that I’ve not read the label on my chile sauce … now I must. Then, I’m sure that I’ll be trying this recipe soon 😉

  • I so agree with you BAM, it’s infuriating why there are so many things we can’t pronounce in our foods, sauces, dressings and so forth. It is such a battle sometimes. I never thought about making my own chilli garlic sauce, I love that stuff too. Your beautiful colour chillies and those vibrant sauces, are inspiring me to try these out!

    Nazneen xx

  • I love your first step! So true!

  • I make a mean chilli chutney and I always use surgical gloves when handling chillies. The added ingredients are what makes me make my own sauces as well!

  • Making these sorts of sauces and condiments is one of my favorite types of kitchen experiment… these look great!

  • I love this

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling chilies, makes life a whole lot more pleasant. Both of your sauces are beautiful. I too am a label reader.
    With teenage boys, you really need to buy in bulk and cook in bulk. I remember there was a period when I did not need to unpack my grocery bags.
    Is that ocean view from your balcony or window?

    • Bams Kitchen

      Indeed disposable gloves, mask, snorkel, fins or whatever you need to protect yourself.
      Sometimes I have my groceries delivered for the bigger items and if I am not here to protect the inventory our supply evaporates. Teenagers!!! Sigh!
      This view is off my balcony looking out to the ocean, the pollution has been kind of bad this week and they cancelled my sons after school activities on Friday as the API too high for outdoor activities. So sad… Have a super weekend, BAM

  • I really like Lee Kum Lee products too, but I’ve never read the label – I need to! The cost of peppers here tends to be on the high side, except if you can score at a farmer’s market. However, I’ve never checked the price at an Asian supermarket – I should do that. I’ve gotten so tired to forgetting what I’m doing when cleaning chile peppers and in an absent minded moment touching my eyes, that I’ve taken to using those disposable gloves when cleaning them – you can buy a bunch in a box, and they’re pretty cheap (Amazon has them, but a restaurant supply store is cheaper). Anyway, great recipe! I use this stuff all the time, and never thought to make it – I definitely should.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Lee Kum Lee is my hero but I want a way to make my dishes healthier. This might be a better dish to make when you can access the farmers market or Asian markets which are at every street corner in HK. I know that is a luxury of living in Asia. Gloves, masks and snorkel are not required but highly recommended when working with these hot chilis. If you have ever put your hand up to your eye or touched your face while working with them you will never do that again…Been there-done that! Maybe for the average household you may not go through that much chili garlic paste but if you make a lot of Asian inspired dishes you go through it quickly, especially with my hungry eat me out of house and home boys. Curries, soups, stir fries and dipping sauces and so many other uses too. Happy Cooking to you and please say hello to Mrs. Riff.

  • This looks delicious!

  • I love that picture where the food looks like it is in the ocean, you must have a beautiful view!! This looks like a great dip to serve with cocktails :).

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks Dawn, it is the view off of my balcony. I have been experimenting with different lighting so trying some more outdoor shots if we still have daylight.

  • This looks wonderful! I love the pictures and the look of how you formatted the recipe. Very nice!!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Bernice,

      I have been experimenting with my recipe format. I have a couple of different options so might give them all a try and you can give me a vote to let me know the ones you like best. Happy cooking, BAM

  • When working in a cafe, many years ago, I learned that washing with salt water works best when dealing with hot peppers. Two lovely sauces, BAM, and the boys like them both. Well done!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Kathleen, great idea to wash them off with salt water to remove some of the exterior oil and wearing gloves too is a good thing. Wishing you a super weekend. Take Care, BAM

  • Jo (

    MMMM, yummy. I think I am gluten intolerant as well. I get tummy aches when I eat it, and bloating. And I also have break outs on my face and hands when I eat bread or pasta and such. It bugs me because I enjoy pasta, cakes and cookies!! So sometimes I eat it anyway even though I know it will bother me… Your sauces look lovely! Take care…

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Jo, I know many people are gluten intolerant so will have more recipes coming your way to provide some alternatives so you can feel better.

  • How bright and delicious!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks and wishing you a super weekend. BAM

  • Eha

    I can’t believe my luck! Yesterday I found a very clear lesson on how to make and keep garlic ginger paste on another blog and today you have printed this marvellous one for garlic-chilli sauce. Like my food pretty hot, am not gluten inyolerant and have pots and pots of chillies ready to pick in the garden! Now just have to lock the door, take the phone off the hook and get busy 🙂 ! ON ANOTHER NOTE: Have you ever heard or seen a Chinese food series called ‘A bite of China’ on HK TV? We are in our 4th week [SBS2, Sat nights for any Oz readers] – it is in Mandarin with perfect sub-titling and possibly the best show on how Chinese basics [fish, hams, sausages etc] are made using centuries’ old recipes! Absolutely fascinating!

    • Bams Kitchen

      I bet it is peak harvest season in Australia now. Good for you. I really need to take note to see if I can find this station to watch the “A bite of China” series sounds great as I love learning the old methods for cooking. I currently have my subtitles set for simplified Chinese so I am certain that will help clear everything up…LOL

  • Kapow! Thats what you call a chilli and I love that.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Kapow.. is right this one certainly adds a little punch to your dishes

  • Occasionally I’ll have similar discussions with friends when they ask why I make some of the things I do. My response is always the same: who needs the additives and preservatives? I’ll gladly deal with their shortened shelf-life because my own personal “shelf-life” can surely benefit. And thanks, BAM, for the caution regarding ventilating the room. If I’m to try these sauces, I’ll have to wait until Summer when I can open up the windows. I have to be very cognizant of any fumes that may impact Lucy, my parrot. I’ve not read anything specifically mentioning chili sauces but this is an area where it is definitely better to be safe than sorry. Even so, I’m anxious to give this a whirl. A jar of home-made chili sauce would be great in a holiday gift basket.

    • Bams Kitchen

      I feel well preserved as it is and dont need any more help…LOL…If I lived in the States or in a region still in winter I would hold off until the summer months as this is when the farmers markets are in full swing and you are in the canning groove. Lucy your parrot will love you for your decision to hold off and ventilate. Can she talk? If so, you best wait until you can open a window or two or she might desire to share her thoughts with you… My next mission is to find some canning jars and seals in HK… still on a mission. Take Care, BAM

  • petit4chocolatier

    I love your sauces! Your teenagers are super lucky! Your pictures of the chilies are explosive. I definitely can feel your sinuses and my sinuses clearing 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      If you were 6000 miles downwind in the States I am sure you were affected. Everyone was saying there was kind of sandstorm or something in Asia…maybe not.. that was probably me and my chillies. LOL

  • Your sauces look wonderful! I too agree that it pays to take the extra step to decrease the exposure to preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients that the food industry often stick into ready-to-use products. And plus there is the added benefit…that homemade usually tastes so much better as well!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you for your nice comment. I think that we all think about this time to time but when you have food allergies you become more aware of looking at the ingredient list of your items. Our moms were always right you are more healthy by shopping in the exterior isles of your grocery marts and staying away from the processed foods. Happy cooking to you. BAM

  • WOW, this looks awesome BAM! I want to make this!! 🙂 I love spice!!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks Lilly. This paste has some punch to it, so make sure you have one of your brews near… Take care, BAM

  • The chili sauce looks great. That red is so vibrant! By the way, the view from your balcony is breathtaking. I’m sure you enjoy every minute of it.
    Have a wonderful week, BAM

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Francesca, we do enjoy every minute of our million dollar view. We are especially enjoying it now as it is very comfortable outside and not yet hot. By April we will be stuck inside and need aircon to tolerate the heat.

  • This is a lovely paste. So much better than buying the commercial stuff.

  • Wow! That’s a lot of chilis, I can see why you’re sinuses are clear. My husband likes spicy and claims things like wasabi help his sinuses but all I can see are tears in his eyes. Reminds me of when he went on a trip & grabbed my tube of Capsaicin cream & tossed it in his shaving bag. He called me that night -“What the hell kind of toothpaste did you buy?” Huh? He brushed his teeth with the arthritis cream which is made with chili pepper juice & of course rinsing your mouth with water only adds to the fire. Lesson being – don’t touch my stuff.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Diane, Thanks so much for the laugh. I so needed that. It served him right!!!! Wishing you a super week. BAM

  • Wow! Fabulous!!! I cannot wait to make these!!! Thanks, Barbara!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Barbara, Glad you up to trying some new things. Really been enjoying your site as you really have many new international cuisines.

  • Looks good! Love how it goes with so many dishes and best of all it does not have the additives found in store bought ones!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Do you like spicy dishes? My teenagers live on it and I can’t seem to keep our house stocked. I think Lee Kum Lee had to start a third shift just to meet up with the new demand of my teenagers.

  • Tonette Joyce

    WOW…I bet it’s a bit hot for me, but my husband would go for it.It is BEAUTIFUL!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Yes this one will clear your sinus passages. If you want to go for flavor with out all the spice, I have tried it making with red bell peppers and it is lovely and I put this on pasta-delicious.

      • Now,I may just indulge myself,(and let Husband and #2 son have it hot!

        • Bams Kitchen

          Hello Joyce, if you make L Jiao Jiang with Thai bird chilies it will be very hot. However, feel free to change up the types of more milder chilies or even red bell peppers as it is really good when you diversify the flavors.

          • I won’t be going, but I may well try making it milder myself.(and , by the way,I am “Tonette”; “Joyce ” is my last name.)

          • Bams Kitchen

            Your first name is beautiful. I also made it milder for myself. I love spicy foods but sometimes spicy foods do not love me back. Take care, BAM

  • I am SO jealous of you now because I have tried to find this kind of chili in NYC for the longest time and still have no luck. This chili sauce speaks to me since I was from Sichuan and I suspect I can add it to any dish I eat haha.
    If you don’t mind I am wondering which part of HK you current live in? The view you have is amazing!!!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Nihao Yi. I am disappointed to hear you cant find these types of chili in NYC, not even in little China Town..? Thank goodness for LEE Kum Lee to keep you stocked with sauces. La Jiao Jiang is great in so many different dishes and especially ones from the Sichuan province. Maybe during your next trip home at least you can gather some great dried chillies to make some delicious chili oil. My boys love these kind of dishes. They like it hot but flavorful as well. We currently live in Pok fu Lam near HKU University. Zai jian, BAM

  • My husband loves his garlic chili sauce! I bet he’d be impressed (and my mother-in-law too) if I attempted to make my own. He stirs it into soy suce to dip his pan-fried dumplings into. 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      They would be very impressed if you made this for them. You will have to go to an asian market for the chilies.

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