Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scallops with Black Bean Sauce

I haven't been able to find a recipe for Scallops with Black Bean Sauce in any cookbook or online that has the kind of 'saucy' black bean sauce reminiscent of the really good restaurant versions of this dish. Ya gotta have the sauce to mix with some steamed white rice. In the end, I came up with my own version, which is definitely on the saucy side. The key to making a really good scallop stir fry dish is to sear them over high heat to get that nice golden color. Just make absolutely sure you don't overcook them. There's nothing blander nor worser [sic] for your mandibles than a rubbery scallop!

Btw, 1 lb. of scallops may sound like a lot, but that will serve about 2 people with a healthy appetite (unless you're on a diet or serving other dishes with your meal). I think that this black bean sauce would also work well with tilapia filets or some other mild white fish.

2 lbs. sea scallops (if very large, cut each scallop in half through the middle)

1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. rice wine
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 egg white

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red or yellow onion, cut into medium dice 
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced 
1-2 fresh jalapeño chilies, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into medium dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
4 green onions, chopped

4 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee's)

Cornstarch Slurry:
2 cups water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Rinse scallops and blot dry with paper towels. Place in a medium bowl and toss with marinade ingredients. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. 

2. Heat 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil over high heat in a saute pan. Coat scallops lightly in cornstarch and add in a single layer (do not overcrowd, and cook in batches if needed) to the hot pan. Sear on both sides briefly (1-2 minutes) until lightly browned. DO NOT OVERCOOK! In fact, it's ok to slightly undercook them and remove promptly from heat to a plate. Add another 1-2 tbsp. of oil to the pan if needed to cook the remaining scallops. Set aside.

3.  In the same pan over medium heat, saute chopped garlic, onion, chopped green onion and 1 tbsp. minced ginger for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the red chilies and green bell pepper and saute about a minute until crisp-tender. Stir in the black bean sauce.

4. Add the cornstarch slurry. Once the sauce has thickened, add the scallops, stir briefly, and pour onto a serving dish. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Marinate scallops for 30 minutes and coat lightly with cornstarch before searing.

Red chilies, green bell pepper, minced ginger, chopped garlic & green onion.

Black bean garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand), white pepper, rice wine (Michiu), soy sauce and sesame oil.

Sear scallops quickly over high heat until just browned. Do not overcook! Remove to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, saute garlic, ginger, scallions and red onion until fragrant.

Add red chilies and the green bell pepper; saute 2-3 minutes until the veggies are slightly softened. Stir in the black bean paste.

Add cornstarch slurry.

Once sauce has thickened, add reserved scallops.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with steamed white rice.

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