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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recipe! Garlic Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce

Every once and awhile there's an ingredient or a condiment that you use in one dish that sounds a little...suspect. Usually it's outside the realm of your culinary experience, maybe something you've not tasted before (to your knowledge). For me, recently, this item was fermented (or salted) black beans. I used them first in the Vietnamese Stir Fry that I made a few weeks ago, and realized that they add a lot of flavor to a recipe, despite being a little off the Western radar.

So what are fermented black beans? Well, they aren't the black beans you eat in tortilla soups and quesadillas. They are, in fact, soybeans that have been taken through a fermentation process. You usually rinse them before using and then smash them together with ginger and garlic for a fantastic stir fry seasoning base. I haven't made Black Bean Sauce yet, but I hear it's pretty delicious, and makes for a wonderful condiment.

Since making the Vietnamese Stir Fry, I've been using fermented black beans left and right, and looking for recipes that include them. This is one of the gems I found, lightly adapted from this recipe, best with a vegetable stir fry over rice noodles or brown rice. Enjoy!

Garlic Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce

2 t Chinese rice wine
1 t soy flour
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 T Canola Oil
1 T thinly sliced scallions
1 T grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and put through a press
3 T fermented black beans, coarsely chopped or smashed
Salt to taste

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and wine with a whisk. Add shrimp and mix well. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok or stir fry ban until hot, but not smoking. (Test by dipping spatula in the shrimp mixture then in the should sizzle).

2. Add scallions, ginger, garlic, and black beans and stir a few times. Stir the shrimp mixture and add it to the pan. Add 2 T water and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are opaque. Taste the sauce, add salt if necessary, and serve immediately.

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