Seared Scallops and Noodles with Salted Black Bean Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This sauce uses the salted or “fermented” black beans that are a staple in Chinese cooking. They are sold in a variety of packages. Finding good fresh scallops is sometimes difficult, so you can substitute whatever good fish or shellfish is available to you.


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 pound large fresh sea scallops, side muscle removed
  3. 3 tablespoons Chinese salted black beans, rinsed and chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons slivered garlic
  5. 2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  6. 1 cup homemade chicken or fish stock or your favorite canned broth
  7. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon or so sugar
  9. 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or other long pasta of your choice
  10. ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  11. ½ cup thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
  12. 2 teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds


In a wok or nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and quickly sauté the scallops over high heat to brown them lightly on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Resist the temptation to move them around, which would interfere with the development of a beautiful golden crust. Be careful not to overcook them. The center of the scallop should remain translucent. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the black beans, garlic, and ginger, and sauté for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the stock, soy sauce, and sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce just slightly. Taste it and add more soy and sugar if you think it needs it. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the sauce warm.

Quickly cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and add to the black bean mixture. Toss, adding the scallops, cilantro, and green onions. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.