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Chinese Black Bean Soup

Chinese Black Bean Soup
Nourishing Chinese Soup: Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup (黑豆汤) is one of my favourite Chinese soups. Black beans (also known as black turtle beans due to their shiny, dark, shell-like appearance) are super nourishing, they have a deep “meaty” taste akin to mushrooms, and are packed with antioxidants. They are also known to be an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and high quality protein. Pregnant women love to consume this soup during their pregnancy and confinement. My mum used to cook this soup quite often when I was young so this is comfort food for me. It never fails to perk me up when I am feeling tired. I also like the fact that this soup does not require many ingredients and is so easy to make.

(Makes 2-3 bowls)

– 200g pork ribs
– 1 dried cuttlefish
– 2 litres water
– 150g black beans, rinsed thoroughly till water runs clear
– 8 red dates

Chinese Black Bean Soup
Some of the ingredients

1. Blanch pork ribs in boiling water to remove scum.
2. Place blanched pork ribs, and the rest of the ingredients in a pot.
3. Bring into a rapid boil for about 10 minutes, and then simmer on lower fire for approximately 50 minutes. Season with a bit of salt if preferred.

Cooking Note: When I normally cook Chinese soups especially those containing Chinese herbs, it’s usually preferred to simmer the soup for a long time to bring out the flavours. But in the case of the black bean soup, I personally find that once the flavours come out, the soup is sweet upon tasting and the water is reduced significantly, you don’t have to continue simmering for hours. This is because the black beans absorb the water and boiling accelerates it, so you won’t be left with much soup if you were to simmer it for hours. Besides boiling, you can try slow cooking or double boiling.

Further reading on black beans
The Chinese Soup Lady

Black Bean Soup
A spoonful of goodness

I’m sending this nourishing soup to Lori Lynn – Taste with the Eyes who is the hostess this month for My Legume Love Affair 11th Helping, a legume-cooking food event started by my dear friend Susan aka The Well-Seasoned Cook.

By the way, regular visitors may have noticed the new look of my food blog. The previous design was quite plain and I have been wanting to revamp it for a while. I’m so glad it is finally done and I’m quite pleased with it. I hope you find the new design more pleasing and easier to use. Do give me some feedback if you have any ;)

65 comments on “Chinese Black Bean Soup”

  1. I love the soup but my mother-in-law cooks it a little differently from you. She fries the black beans first in a pan on low heat without oil, constantly stirring it to prevent burning. After she hears a bit of a crackling sound, she soaks them in basin of water for a while before removing the skin of most of them. She prefers the soup not to look so ‘black’ – finds it unappetising. Also, the soup does taste ‘smoother’. the rest of the ingredients are the same.

    • Yes, I’ve heard that some people dry fry the beans first to rid of the smell. I’ve been lazy to try that out. But after hearing your detailed description and the differences in taste/texture, I wish to try it out soon. Thank you for sharing. :-)

  2. Pingback: My Legume Love Affair Round-Up • Taste With The Eyes • where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook

  3. Thanks for such a good tip but I don’t eat pork! Can I replace it with other meat or fish?

  4. I feel I ought to point out that turtle beans are not the same as Chinese black beans which are in fact soya beans fermented til they go black and preserved with salt. They are also soft American black beans are hard dried beans which need soaking and long cooking

  5. Cooking today using your recipe :)

  6. Hi,

    Just come across your recipe while searching through google for chinese black bean soup. Wonder if I can use the pressure cooker to cook instead of using slow cooker. Appreciate your comments.


    • I’m not familiar with how to use the pressure cooker (only used it a few times) but you definitely can cook this soup with it.

  7. hey there im a big fan of chinese cooking i am still learning.
    i got some black beans from the chinese supermarket but they are roasted are these the correct ones to use? they are also green inside cheers

    • just red jons comment about my beans. do you have any suggestions how to use my black soybeas cheers

  8. I just cooked it! Modified it a bit by adding chicken stock and dried octopus for more flavor; the soup tasted nice! <3 However thing is the black beans are still kind hard after cooking, not creamy like how I tasted from outside stores…=(

  9. Question: do u need to soak the beans overnight first?

  10. Hi, thanks very much for your recipes. I will definitely try your Chicken Mushroom Baked Rice. I always order that when I go to Swenson’s. You mentioned that your recipe is similar to their’s then I am sure I will enjoy it just as much.

    Will be looking at your other recipes again.

    Thank you once again!!

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