Shrimp and Chayote with Black Beans, or 豆豉佛手瓜炒蝦仁, uses Ginger and fermented Black Beans as a background for Shrimp and crisp Chayote slices.
This is a dish that could easily be prepared using either Cucumber or Bitter Melon rather than slices of Chayote, but this vegetable (actually a fruit) represents a happy medium between the bland taste of the former, and the very astringent bitterness of the latter.
Ingredient Notes for Shrimp and Chayote with Black Beans
The skin of the Chayote can be a little tough and fibrous in some cases. This is not usually a problem with the smaller, younger ones, but you should check for this and, if necessary, peel your Chayote before use.
Do your self a favor and use actual the Chinese Salted Black Beans called for in the recipe rather than a commercially made Black Bean Sauce. I have yet to come across a commercial product that is really any good, and using the actual beans is no more difficult, and much cheaper.
Likewise, the Recipe Card below calls for Homemade Chicken Stock rather than canned, or powdered. You can certainly use these but something a long the lines of a Basic Chinese Chicken Stock will make your dish that much better.
How to make 豆豉佛手瓜炒蝦仁
First, mix the cornstarch slurry with the chicken stock and set aside. Next, put the black beans and sugar in a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork so that the beans are partially broken up and crushed, but not quite to the point of being a paste. Mix in the rice wine, or sherry, and set this aside for the time being.
Heat your wok to high and add two or three tablespoons of vegetable oil along with the sesame oil. As soon as the oils start to ripple and are just at the point of smoking, throw in the shrimp and stir-fry quickly until they are pink. Remove to a bowl, allowing as much oil as possible to drain back into the wok and add enough more oil to make a total volume of three tablespoons.
When the oil is rippling again, add the chayote slices and sauté until the surfaces are just beginning to brown but the centers still remain crisp and firm. Remove the slices to the same bowl as the shrimp, again allowing as much oil a possible to stay in the wok.
If necessary, again add enough oil to maintain three tablespoons in the wok and then add the ginger shreds. As soon as they release their aroma, add the red bell pepper and sauté until just beginning to soften. Now add the black bean mixture and let it come to a bubbling boil.
Once the black bean sauce mixture has reduced and thickened slightly, add back the shrimp and chayote. Stir-fry until heated through once again and then pour in the stock and cornstarch. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients and then plate for service.
Your Recipe Card for 豆豉佛手瓜炒蝦仁:
Shrimp and Chayote with Black Beans
- ½ lb. small Shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 medium Chayote cut into small ¼ inch slices
- ½ small Red Bell Pepper sliced into strips
- 3 slices Ginger shredded
- 3 tbsp. Salted Black Beans
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- ¼ cup Rice Wine or dry Sherry
- ¼ cup Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 heaped tsp. Cornstarch mixed to a slurry with 3 tbsp. Water
- 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
- Mix the cornstarch slurry with the chicken stock and set aside.
- Put the black beans and sugar in a small bowl and mash to a paste, then stir in the rice wine, or sherry, and set this aside too.
- Stir-fry the shrimp in 2 Tablespoons of oil and the sesame oil over high heat and remove to a bowl once pink.
- Stir-fry the Chayote over high heat until the edges begin to crisp and brown then remove to the bowl with the shrimp.
- Stir-fry the ginger shreds and the bell pepper until the latter begins to soften, then add the black bean mixture.
- Once the black bean sauce mixture has reduced and thickened slightly, add back the shrimp and chayote.
- Follow with the stock and cornstarch and continue to stir until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients.
- Plate and serve hot.