Succulent Scallops in a Spicy Black Bean Sauce

by Jacqueline on February 10, 2013

Scallops served in a piquant black bean dressing

Succulent Scallops in a Spicy Black Bean Sauce

Well, The Year of the Snake is finally upon us and Chinese New Year will officially be celebrated until Wednesday 13 February.

Last year we were fortunate enough to be in Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year. One of my fondest memories was visiting the flower market at Victoria Park. It was a beautiful sight to behold; a sea of orange and green as kumquat trees were being sold in abundance. I even bought 3 orchid plants; blue, purple and pink to brighten up our home and they lasted all of 3 months under my supervision. What can I  say ? I just don’t have magic plant hands.

Chinese New Year would not be the same in Hong Kong without the glorious firework display that takes place at Victoria Harbour. For a full 23 minutes; not a minute more, not a minute less (how’s that for precision?) the crowd is dazzled and fixated as the sky is given over to a series of speedy, powerful and artistic displays of light.

Sadly, we missed it this year but I took a few snaps to see how the preparations were coming on before the flight back to London. The malls had just started to decorate with different styles of lighting.

Oriental Lighting

Oriental Lighting in the IFC Mall

Chinese New Year decorations at The Landmark - bright blooming coulurs

Chinese New Year decorations at The Landmark, Hong Kong

A real-life money tree appeared on the scene.

Money Tree dripping with lai see (red envelopes filled with money)

Money Tree dripping with lai see (red envelopes filled with money)

But mostly, it was all about the pandas.

Panda Playtime at The IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Panda Playtime at The IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Fun and games with the Pandas

Fun and games with the pandas

I think I have a favourite. Looks like this guy has the right idea.

Relaxed Panda

Chilled out Panda

Moving swiftly on to food, here is another recipe that can be quickly plated up during the Chinese New Year festival. I served these sweet succulent beauties with a peppery watercress salad but to heighten the Asian experience you could serve it with some steamed pak choi or Chinese greens. Or indeed, as scallops have earned an aphrodisiac reputation why not serve this dish up to a loved one on Valentine’s Day? I’d say this is a much better option than the offer of an overpriced restaurant on Thursday…wouldn’t you?

Succulent Scallops in a Spicy Black Bean Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 2 for Lunch or Dinner

A tasty spicy seafood dish knocked up in a matter of minutes. Can be served as a main course, or smaller portions for a starter.


  • 200g of fresh scallops
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp of fermented black beans, with 50% bashed to contribute to the sauce and 50% remaining whole
  • 2 spring onions, topped and tailed and cut into 5cm slices
  • 1 bird's eye chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you prefer it milder)
  • 3 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp of Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp of stock (I used Chicken stock)
  • 2 tbsp of peanut oil


  1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or heavy based frying pan
  2. Add the pressed garlic, ginger and chilli and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the fermented beans and scallops and stir-fry for just over 1 minute.
  4. Pour in the light soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine and mix together.
  5. Add the stock, lower the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  6. At the last moment add the chopped spring onions, stir and serve immediately


Scallops can be replaced with beef if a meat dish is preferred.

Seafood means scallop time

Scallops in a Spicy Black Bean

Further suggestions for Asian inspired recipes on How to be a Gourmand include:

Cantonese Style Sea Bream with Chilli and Ginger Broccoli Florets

Asian Dressed Aubergine

Sizzling Beef with Ginger and Spring Onion

Pork Bánh Mì

Like How to be a Gourmand on Facebookfollow

I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janice February 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm

The pandas are fab, so funny. You are lucky to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. I adore scallops, seafood is my favourite food and scallops my favourite seafood, that does look very, very good.


2 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

Thanks Janice – they did bring a huge smile to my face! Love scallops although they are a wee bit pricey I love to indulge on a special occasion!


3 Kellie@foodtoglow February 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Wowza, that looks & sounds a-ma-zing. And crucially, simple. Love all of the tastes (I go through more fermented beans than is probably good for me). Bookmarking!


4 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:31 am

Thanks Kellie – as well as the wonderful taste – the time to make this dish is an added bonus!


5 Rachel K @MarmadukeS February 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Absolutely gorgeous. (Adored the pandas too!)


6 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:34 am

Thanks Rachel! They were a big hit with onlookers too. Families were queuing up to have their photo taken with them.


7 Ang February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Oh those pandas are adorable. It must be such an experience to be there for such a big celebration. The scallops look lovely and I love the fact that it is such a quick meal to prepare.


8 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

Thanks Angela – the scallops were truly delicious!


9 Laura@howtocookgoodfood February 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Oh this suits me just perfectly. I could just dream about enjoying scallops and that black bean sauce as a seafood addict. If only I could eat this dish at least twice a week, crab another day, then sea bass & prawns I would be as happy as could be!


10 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

If only! That would be a hefty weekly shopping bill :-) Love fish and seafood. I very rarely eat crab – I do love the flavour but I find it very fiddly to prepare/eat. Thanks for your comment Laura.


11 Franglais kitchen February 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm

This is gorgeous. I love scallops so would happily eat this, and I do love the pictures from the build up to New Year! (especially the pandas, what a job for those guys!)


12 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thanks Nazima – they certainly brightened up the place!


13 rita cooks italian February 11, 2013 at 7:38 am

What a dream to be in Hong Kong for the New Year celebration! Anyway here I am in Barnet, London, it’s early Monday morning and I am dreaming of exotic places and food… The scallops are very inspiring I hope I can find fermented black beans (I have never tried this ingredient!). I wrote you an email regarding the pasta. PS the panda pictures are very funny…


14 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:49 am

I’m currently in London at the moment and woke up to a blanket of snow this morning – brrrrr!
Just missed CNY in HK this year but will be back soon. You should be able to find fermented black beans at any Asian supermarket (normally dried in vacuum pack bags) and in some bigger British supermarkets.


15 Maggie February 11, 2013 at 8:55 am

I love Panda Playtime. You are so lucky to have spent time in Hong Kong for the celebrations. The malls look amazing. The ingredients list is bursting with flavour sensations and your plate of food looks amazing.


16 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thanks Maggie – I thoroughly enjoyed eating it!


17 Katharine February 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm

DELICIOUS scallops – I love them and think your black bean sauce is perfect with them! And like so many others have commented, I adore the pandas – what a wonderful way to make a shopping trip more exciting! So cute.


18 Jacqueline February 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Thanks Katharine – they did provide much entertainment for the passing crowds.


19 Caroline Taylor February 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Great pictures! What a lovely idea with the sweet scallops and salty black bean sauce.


20 Jacqueline February 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Thanks Caroline :-)


21 Nic February 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

So colourful, and those pandas are brilliant!
Although I am not really a fan of scallops, my husband slways orders them, and he would love this.


22 Jacqueline February 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thanks Nic! The pandas are my new best buddies :-)


23 Mich Piece of Cake February 13, 2013 at 4:51 am

Your scallops are making me drool! I would love a plateful of these.


24 Jacqueline February 13, 2013 at 8:44 am

Thanks Mich – they were a treat:-)


25 Sneige February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

Aren’t these pandas cute!!! So adorable :) lovely photos and I like the idea of scallops in Black bean sauce – actually I love black bean sauce with anything. And the best bit – everything ready in 15 minutes!


26 Jacqueline February 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

Ha! Ha! I like your thinking Sneige! The time to make this dish is an added bonus!


27 Monet February 16, 2013 at 3:17 am

Look at those pandas! And look at those scallops! I could take a big plate of those just about now! Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you had a fabulous week, and I hope your weekend brims with good food, laughter, and love.


28 Jacqueline February 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks Monet – I guess you’ll have to wait until the baby is born before you have a plate! I guess it won’t be long now!


29 rebecca February 18, 2013 at 3:59 am

cool lanterns and I bet the fireworks are awesome bet you have learnt some great French recipes from your hubbys family. This dish looks so good


30 Jacqueline February 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

Thanks Rebecca! The Chinese have fireworks down to a fine art :-) My hubs is also a dab hand in the kitchen. He recently made me a Pot au Feu which was really delicious but the kitchen ends up being “a war zone” – (his words, not mine) with the mess he creates.


31 lisaiscooking February 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The pandas are so cute! And, I love black bean sauce. It sounds delicious with the scallops.


32 Jacqueline February 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Thanks Lisa – they tasted pretty good. Got to love the pandas :-)


33 Karen February 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Absolutely FABULOUS post and I NEED one of those pandas! Plus your photos and recipe are lovely too…….I DO miss Hong Kong, although it is very different to when I lived there!


34 Jacqueline February 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Ah Karen – I’m sure one day you will return if only for a quick visit. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the lovely comment x


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