Black bean-steamed scallop with noodles

Scallops cooked with spice and salt adds a sophisticated twist to this starter.

  • Preparation Time35 mins
  • Cooking Time5 mins
  • Serves2
  • DifficultyMedium

For the black bean paste

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fermented salted black beans, washed and crushed into a paste (can be found at specialty Asian markets)
1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
8 tbs water

For the scallops with noodles

8 scallops, shelled, de-bearded and coral removed (retain the shells, if attached)
90g dried vermicelli mung bean noodles or 170 g vermicelli rice noodles, pre-soaked in hot water for 5 - 6 mins, drained and roughly cut into 8 cm lengths
Water, as needed
Chives or spring onions, very finely chopped, for garnish
* Can be found at speciality Asian markets
Notes: My favorite sauce of all time is black bean sauce. I love this homemade 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!

1) To make the bean paste: mix the garlic, ginger, chilli, soy sauce, fermented black beans, rice wine, and water, together in a bowl.

2) To make the scallops: put the cleaned scallops back in their shells. Using a small teaspoon, spoon some of the bean paste over the top of each scallop, gently rubbing it in.

3) Wrap some of the noodles around each scallop, and then spoon one teaspoon water around the noodles.

Cook's Note: This helps to keep the noodles moist and adds sauce to the noodles when combined with the steamed juices of the scallops.

4) Divide the scallop shells between two plates and set each plate into a bamboo steamer, placing one steamer on top of the other. Place the steamers over a wok of boiling water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the steamer. Steam over high heat for four to five minutes, or until the scallops have turned from translucent to opaque. Alternatively, if you do not have a bamboo steamer, place the shells on a large heatproof plate on a rack in a roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water from the kettle. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Cover the whole roasting tray with foil, and slide it into the oven for four to five minutes.

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

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