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!
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.
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.
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.
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.