Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp
Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp

Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp

In this simple stir-fried dish, crisp green pepper chunks are paired with succulent, tiny bay scallops and shrimp in a very light, thin sauce made with Rice Wine, Oyster Sauce, and just a dash of Sesame Oil. The umami component of the shellfish is enhanced by the fermented richness of Chinese Salted Black Beans.

A Note on the Main Ingredients

Chinese Salted Black Beans
Chinese Salted Black Beans

Using whole salted black beans is, to my mind, almost always better than using a commercially prepared Black Bean Sauce. The latter does offer a little bit of convenience but many of these products, even the very good quality ones can negatively affect the color of your dish, as well as potentially overwhelm delicate flavors even when used very sparingly. It is a good idea to rinse away any excess salt from the loose beans before using them.

I am using very small scallops and shrimps here, each being roughly in the count neighborhood of 40 – 50 per pound. At this size, you often get much sweeter flavor from shellfish than with the larger ones. Scallops like the ones used here might be sold as ‘Baby Scallops’ in some places, but you should specifically as for ‘Bay Scallops’ (as opposed to ‘Sea Scallops’) if you are buying from a fishmonger rather than a supermarket. For reference, this Spicy Scallop Appetizer also capitalizes on the sweeter flavor of Bay Scallops.

Green Pepper was chosen here as they not only taste when fried to just crisp-tender, but the color works well. The only caveat is that you must cook and serve quickly. Once green peppers are overcooked, or ‘warmed-over’, both the color and taste are ruined. If you are making a dish like this for a buffet table, or which will need to be re-heated for service, then you will be *much* better off using red peppers instead.

How to Cook Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp

Frying the Green Pepper with the Black Beans
Frying the Green Pepper with the Black Beans

The first step in the actual cooking process is flash-frying the green peppers. You will see that, with a few seconds, the color of the peppers turns a much brighter and more vivid green. As soon as this happens, add in the salted black beans and stir-fry for a few more seconds until their aroma arises and the peppers are just beginning to soften slightly.

Frying the Shrimp and Scallop
Frying the Shrimp and Scallop

The shrimp and scallop are added next, and they too only require a very few minutes of stir-frying. As soon as the shrimp are pink on the exterior you can proceed directly to the next step.

Finishing the Dish
Finishing the Dish

The last part of the cooking process is the addition of the sauce ingredients. The dish itself does not have a great deal of sauce, and the small amount of liquid actually added will be reduce by about one third in the pan. As soon as this operation is complete, the shrimp and scallop will be nicely tender and should be served immediately while still piping hot.

Your Recipe Card:

Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp

Black Bean Scallop and Shrimp is easy to make and pairs crisp peppers with succulent shrimp and scallops in an umami-rich fermented black bean sauce
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Salted Black Beans, Scallops, Shrimp
Author: John Thompson


  • 1/2 lb. small Shrimp peeled and deveined;
  • 1/2 lb. Bay Scallops;
  • 1 small Green Bell Pepper in bite size pieces
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Salted Black Beans rinsed and coarsely chopped;
  • 1 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
  • 2 Tbsp. Rice Wine;
  • 1 tsp. Soy Sauce;
  • ½ tsp. Sesame Oil;


  • Rinse and coarsely chop the salted black beans.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil to your pan over high heat and add the green pepper pieces followed by the salted beans. Saute until the peppers are glossy and just starting to soften slightly.
  • Add the scallop and shrimp and continue stir-frying just until the shrimp are pink on the outside.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook for just a minute or so until the sauce is bubbling and slightly thickened.
  • Plate and serve immediately.


Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!