Black bean paste

Chunjang 춘장

Black, salty, slightly sweet, and earthy, this paste is made with a mixture of soybeans, flour, and caramel and then fermented. It’s essential for making jjajangmyeon (Noodles and black bean sauce). After opening, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

black bean paste

black bean paste

This is Haechandeul brand, which is what I usually get unless something else is on sale. : )

Recipes that use black bean paste (chunjang):


  1. Gabrielle& has 2 comments

    Hello Ms. Hammer ^_^

    I made samsun jjajang bap using Haitai’s roasted black bean paste (sold in a jar), and the dish turned out salty. I was able to tone down the saltiness but not the slight bitterness of the sauce. Also, I didn’t add in starchy water to the sauce since it was already thick.

    My questions are:

    1. Does using roasted black bean paste make the sauce extra salty and slightly bitter?

    2. Maybe the roasted black bean sauce are meant for gahn jjajang instead (no need for water and starch)?

    Kamsahamnida, Maangchi-ssi!

  2. Apparently, this paste is made of soybeans, despite being black. One would have to boil the beans until they’re tender enough to be mashed into a dry paste (therefore, it’s necessary to drain the water before doing this). The paste is then sweetened with either sugar or honey, and a little bit of oil is added so it gets a little more creamy-looking. I don’t really understand how it turns black, but I think it’s because of some black food coloring substance.

    But this paste is made in different ways in different regions of Asia (South China, North China, etc.). Other ingredients are added (I read about “yellow oil”, flour, and other things) depending on the area. However, if you cannot buy it in a Korean food market (as in my case), I’d try to just do the sweet paste at home, out of soybeans. Or maybe black beans, so they’re black already.

    That’s just an opinion. :)

    • wildfoodgeek texas joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

      Asian sauces often use black soybeans. You can buy them from I use them to make dao-chi (fermented black beans) and soy sauce. You also will need some aspergillus oryzae, or koji, which I get from GEM cultures in Washington state. The first step is to soak the beans in water overnight. Then cook for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker until they are just tender, not to the stage you might consider edible, but no hardness inside the bean. Then strain and dump out onto a clean towel to cool and dry. Then sterilize some flour in a dry skillet until very hot to kill any yeasts and molds in the flour. Put the beans in a big bowl and toss with the flour. Then add the koji spores and put in some wide containers and then into a (Igloo) cooler. After two days, start taking the beans out every day and turn them. When they are coated with a Brie-like coating of white koji mold, put them into a crock. Cover them and weight them down. Then add water until covered by 1 inch of water. Then add 1/4 cup of pickling salt per quart of water and seal the crock. Allow to ferment for 4 months, then remove the beans and dry them. Save the water as it is a simple but very good soy sauce. I don’t know about the korean paste here, but would love to find out how it relates, if at all.

  3. Hi, is it alright to use sam jjang for jajangmyun recipe?

  4. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Jim N Ga
    cool! ssamjang is good dipping sauce, right? Thank you!

    no black bean paste is called “choonjang” in Korean. Soy bean paste is called “doenjang” in Korean. They are totally different. Thank you for your question!

  5. is the black bean paste also called Soybean paste? because i went to a Chinese market called “house of rice” and they have the soybean paste. but im not sure if its the same as the black bean paste.

  6. I love the Chinese Black Bean dishes. I am looking forward to trying Jja Jang Myun. I have cooked Bulgogi and Galbi for years, but had never had them with ssam jang until I ate at a Korean Restaurant here in Atlanta. I went to a Super H Mart and picked up the Soybean paste and Hot Pepper paste and used your recipe to make ssam jang dipping sauce for my ribs on New Years. Thanks for the delicious addition to our meal.

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Jim N Ga,
    Thank you for good information about Chinese fermented black beans.
    Happy New Year!

  8. I have not tried the Korean Black Bean paste, but I am familiar with the Chinese Fermented Black Beans (also called Salted or Preserved…)


    They are dried and fermented Black Beans, typically packed with salt. These are mixed with soy, garlic, etc to make a sauce or marinade. Usually not made into a paste, but will be mashed while making the sauce. Delicious used in making Black Bean SPresipbs(Dim Sum type dish) or ina stir fry with chicken and bell peppers or also stir fired with squid.

    • wan Singapore joined 1/10 & has 7 comments

      HI, the douchi is differently from the one for jajangmyun as it’s quite salty and may come in dry form, where individual beans can be seen. The best for making jajangmyun is the dark brown hoisin sause (different from the red variety) which is also made from douchi,but has slight sweetness. SOme shops sell them thinned with water- try to get the paste which is thicker instead of the sauce.Hope this helps.

  9. oh its my plesure actually you are the only one which i have to thank that you show so much nice vds and with details thnks so much

    and wish you a very very very Happy New year may this year will be 2 much lucky for you

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    oh, thank you very much. I am going to post the information on the forum then. Thanks a lot.

  11. hey maangchi i am not able to send information there so i m sending here adress of korean store in New Delhi ,India

    {A-Mart korean grocery store}
    A-1 Mahipalpur Extension, NH8, New Delhi Phn No. ->2678-9999
    INA market (South Delhi)

    There japanese store that have some things that can be used in korean cooking like
    Short Grain Rice
    Soy sauce
    And varieties of every meat and fishes + seafood
    the is store is
    Yamato-YA (B-6/9 Local Commercial Complex, Safdarjung Enclave (4165-0164). Daily 10am-7.30pm.)

  12. HangukSarang& has 2 comments

    Thank you Maangchi

  13. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Yes, I am hoping to visit India someday!
    I’m glad to hear that you have no problem with finding Korean ingredients. It will be wonderful if you leave the information about the Korean grocery store on the forum here.

  14. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Please check this. I don’t know how to make black bean paste, either.

  15. hi maangchi i love every dish you make i live in india
    i m very lucky that korean grocery store is near my home keep making these delecious korean delacrisies and someday plz come to india:)

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