When I asked an elderly aunt why we make them with salty pork instead of sweet beans, she looked at me in surprise. "Because we like pork better," she said. Well, then.
I do have one Chinese dinner in my repertoire that I am capable of making on any given weeknight. My dad would be pleased to know that it's actually a recipe of his that appeared in the first volume of our family cookbook: flank steak with black beans.
As might be typical with family recipes, this one is somehow both incredibly specific ("Stir-fry flank steak for 45 seconds!") and frustratingly vague ("use several slices of ginger"). But now I've made the recipe so many times I know how to do it just the way I like it.
FLANK STEAK WITH BOK CHOY AND BLACK BEANS
Marinate 1 lb. thinly-sliced flank steak in 4 T. soy sauce, 2 T. dry sherry, and several slices of ginger for 20 minutes.