My favourite sauce of all time is black bean sauce. I love this home-made sauce cooked in a number of ways, and I think it goes best with poultry or shellfish. This is a simple low-fat sophisticated supper for two – perfect washed down with a chilled bottle of Riesling. Great for a special occasion but make sure it’s not for a first date as it contains plenty of garlic!


  • 8 scallops, removed from the shells, de-bearded and coral removed (retain the shells)

  • 175g/6oz (75g/3oz dried weight) dried vermicelli mung bean noodles or vermicelli rice noodle, pre-soaked in hot water for 5–6 minutes, drained and cut roughly into 10cm/4 inch lengths

  • For the black bean paste

  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2.5cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fermented salted black beans, washed and crushed into a paste

  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 8 teaspoons water

  • chives or spring onions, very finely chopped, to garnish


  • 1.

    Place the cleaned scallops back in their shells. Mix all the ingredients for the black bean paste together in a bowl. Using a small teaspoon, spoon some of the paste on to the top of each scallop and gently rub in.

  • 2.

    Wrap some noodles around each scallop, then spoon 1 teaspoon water around the noodles – this helps to keep the noodles moist and adds sauce to the noodles when combined with the steamed juices of the scallops.

  • 3.

    Divide the scallop shells between two plates and put each plate into a bamboo steamer, placing one steamer on top of the other. Place the steamers over a pan or wok of boiling water (making sure the water does not touch the base of the steamer) and steam on high heat for 4–5 minutes until the scallops have turned from translucent to opaque. If you do not have a bamboo steamer, place the shells on a large heatproof plate on a rack in a roasting tray. Fill the roasting tray with boiled water from the kettle. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Cover the whole roasting tray with foil and place in the oven for 4–5 minutes. This is also a method of steaming.

  • 4.

    Serve the scallops in the bamboo steamers or remove the plates from the oven. Sprinkle some chopped chives over the scallop shells and serve immediately.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

  • Energy 443kj
  • Fat Total 1g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Protein 16g
  • Carbohydrate 89g
  • Sugar 1g
  • Sodium 917mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.
  • Use msg free products where possible.
  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.
  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.
  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible


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