Black Bean Beef Sous-Vide

When I saw black been beaf on One Man’s Meat, I knew at once I wanted to make a sous-vide version. Conor’s Asian recipes are always quick, simple, and full of flavor. Sous-vide takes the quickness out of it, but the active time is still very short. And it allows us to use a cheaper cut of beef with more flavor, but with the texture of an expensive steak. And there is less risk of overcooked dry beef.  With the simple sauce of onions, fermented black beans, and (very important) the juices from the bag, this simple dish has great flavor. For the beef I used a cut near the shoulder that is known as blade steak or flat iron steak (sukade in Dutch). There is a tough tendon in the center that you may have to cut out if your butcher didn’t do it already. 


For 2 servings

400 grams (.9 lb) flat iron steaks

1 1/2 Tbsp fermented black beans

400 grams (.9 lb) onions, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp shaoshing rice wine

3 Tbsp light soy sauce

3 Tbsp peanut oil

1 Tbsp cornstarch


Vacuum seal the flat iron steak (without seasoning) and cook sous-vide for 12 hours at 55C/131F. 

About 20 minutes before you’d like to serve dinner, heat 2 Tbsp peanut oil (or other vegetable oil) in a frying pan and add 400 grams of sliced onions. 

Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring regularly, until they are soft and slightly golden. 

In the meantime, put 1 1/2 tablespoon of fermented black beans in a small bowl and cover with boiling water to soften them and remove some of the salt. Let stand for about 10 minutes. 

When you take the beef out of the sous-vide, there will be a lot of juices in the bag.  

Pour those juices into a bowl. 

Pat the beef dry with paper towels…

…and rub with corn starch on both sides for faster browning. 

Lift the onions out of the frying pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate and set aside. Add a tablespoon of oil to the frying pan over high heat. Brown the beef over high heat…

…on both sides. Remember it’s already cooked, so just 30 seconds per side is enough to give it some color and develop the flavor. Then turn off the heat and transfer the beef to a cutting board. 

Add 2 tablespoons of shaoshing rice wine to the bowl with the juices from the bag…

…as well as 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce…

…and a teaspoon of corn starch. 

Stir this with a whisk until there are no more lumps. 

If the beef still has the tough tendon, remove it by cutting around it. 

Cut the beef into bite size strips of about 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick. 

Put 3 minced cloves of garlic into the frying pan and stir over medium heat for a minute. 

Then add the onions and stir for another minute. 

Add the sauce…

…as well as the drained black beans. 

Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens. 

Add the strips of beef. 

Turn off the heat and stir until the beef has warmed through. We don’t want to cook the beef, as that would dry it out. 

Serve at once with rice. 


Thai coconut rice custard has a nice contrast between the sweet palm sugar-flavored bottom and the salty creamy coconut top.


11 thoughts on “Black Bean Beef Sous-Vide

  1. I somehow missed this on Conor’s blog. It sounds so wonderful. My mother started using fermented black beans during her Chinese cooking phase, and even as a kid I loved the flavor. Can’t wait to make this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You take the ‘high road’ and I’ll rake the ‘low road’ and we’ll meet together with a wonderful dish! I love black beans and the amount of onions you have used and I shall pay that little bit extra for the meat . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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