Pan-Seared Sea Scallops in Black Bean Sauce

Image of Corinne Trang
Rated 4.5 based on 5 customer reviews
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops in Black Bean Sauce
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops in Black Bean Sauce


  • ⅓ cup Chinese salted black beans (also called “preserved” or “fermented” black beans)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 24 large sea scallops, rinsed and pat dry
  • 1 ounce fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup Shaoxing wine
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil


  1. Put the black beans in a small bowl with enough water to cover. Let soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high. Stir-fry the scallions in hot oil until golden, about 1 minute; transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Sear the scallops in oil until browned, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
  4. Stir-fry ginger and garlic in the skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add the black beans, wine, and ⅓ cup water, stirring to deglaze the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the tapioca starch and 1 teaspoon water together; pour into the sauce and stir until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Stir sesame oil through the sauce and transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the scallops into the sauce and garnish with the fried scallions.
Mealthy tip:

Quadruple the quantity of the sauce and freeze for future use to make this recipe even easier. Savory black bean sauce is also excellent with braised pork ribs. For a vegan version of the dish, serve with grilled, steamed, or pan-fried tofu or seitan.


4.5out of 5 Stars

(5 Reviews)

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What others are saying

Image of Aja A

Aja A says:

First time trying out fermented black beans last night and I surprisingly liked it a lot. So many different flavors happening in this dish, I could kinda taste the scallops. Still a good dish and will make again.

Image of Sam Dalton

Sam Dalton says:

I really like scallops, and definitely enjoyed them with this Chinese black bean sauce. It was definitely a unique taste, but in a good way, very flavorful. This is a great dish for date nights, but also quick enough to prepare on a busy weeknight too.

Image of Monica Allen

Monica Allen says:

I stalked this recipe just for the sauce, and made a large batch to freeze. I always have a hard time cooking scallops but this recipe cooks them for the right amount of time, so that they're not rubbery and overcooked.

Image of Sheila Long

Sheila Long says:

Made a vegan version of this dish using pan-fried tofu. The fried scallions on top was the perfect final touch. I'd love to make this again.

Image of Jenny J

Jenny J says:

I used blackening seasoning on the scallops and paired it with fresh veggies. I really liked the black bean sauce. Next time I will try it with the braised pork ribs, as suggested in the tip box.