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Grilled Scallops with Black Bean Sauce

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Black bean sauce is one of the most popular items on Chinese restaurant menus. Fermented black beans, which are oxidized soybeans, are found in Asian markets. Generally salted, they need to soak for 20 minutes before using in any recipe. Easy to make, Chinese black bean sauce requires a touch of ginger, garlic, and rice wine. That’s all there is to it, and once made, the sauce can be used to enhance tofu, meats, or seafood. Recipe courtesy of Corrine Trang of Asian Flavors Diabetes Cookbook.

Serves 6 / Serving size: 4 pieces



  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided use
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup Chinese black beans, soaked in water for 20 minutes, and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce (“sambal olek,” optional)
  • 1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or Japanese sake
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, the white parts halved lengthwise
  • 24 large sea scallops
  • 12 sprigs cilantro, stems trimmed



  1. In a small skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry the garlic and ginger over high heat until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the black beans, chili-garlic sauce (if using), and wine. Reduce heat to low and cook until some of the beans break down, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions and continue to simmer until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, add the remaining oil and wait until it starts to smoke. Add the scallops and pan-fry until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter. Spoon the black bean sauce over each scallop and garnish with cilantro.


Exchanges / Choices

1/2 Carbohydrate
2 Lean Meat
1/2 Fat


More information

Calories:  150
Calories from Fat: 55
Total Fat:  6.0 g
Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Trans Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 25 mg
Sodium:  460 mg
Potassium: 325 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 15 g

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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