Black Bean, Sweetcorn, Cucumber & Scallop Broth

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Preparation info

  • For


    Main Courses
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

The key thing about this dish is its combination of tastes and textures. The saltiness of the black beans, Asian in origin, contrasts with the sweetness of the corn and scallops and the bitterness of the scallop roe. Many chefs recommend discarding the roe, but ignore their advice as it’s delectable. The crunch of the corn and cucumber contrasts with the softness of the scallops. Use this recipe as a basis to start from and add whatever you think will go well. If you don’t have any fish stock to hand, use a light chicken or vegetable stock.

When prawns are described as ‘green’ it means simply that they’re raw. Green prawns can be bought in all sorts of ways – with their heads or shells on or off and frozen or fresh. The main thing is not to buy precooked as these tend to be quite inferior. For the recipe opposite you can use prawns out of their shells, but it is the crisp shell that is so delicious to munch on. Seriously! When really fresh there’s nothing tastier than a whole prawn, eaten head and all. This was something I discovered throughout Asia whenever I ate barbecued prawns. The recipe is a favourite of my sister Tracey – we had it for Christmas lunch in 1996 in the rainforest of northern New South Wales.


  • 30 shelled scallops with roe (or coral), trimmed of muscles or membranes and gently rinsed under cold water
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced and washed to remove grit
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • ¼ cup salted black beans (found in most Asian food stores)
  • 800ml (28fl oz) fish stock
  • 30 baby sweetcorn
  • 1 15cm (6in) piece of cucumber, seeds removed and cut into fine julienne
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup finely sliced spring onions


Heat up a deep pot and add a few tablespoons of sesame oil. When it’s smoking put in the leeks, garlic and ginger and sauté for 3—4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the black beans and fish stock and bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer.

Heat up a heavy frying pan and, when it’s hot, add a few tablespoons of oil. Fry the sweetcorn until golden brown all over (don’t overcook or it will burn and its texture will soften) and add to the broth. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper, heat it up again and put in a little more oil. Gently add the scallops and fry on a high heat until they’re golden on each side. Put these in the broth with the cucumber and turn the heat off. Add the lime juice and mix in gently. Taste for seasoning before serving in flat soup bowls sprinkled with the spring onions.