Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce

Recipes by Debi Snook; Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

With their beany richness, tang and salty spike, fermented Chinese black beans sold in Asian import stores bring deep flavor pleasures to the most basic seafood, especially the shrimp used here. You can also use freshly steamed clams, tofu chunks and/or cooked, tender-crisp string beans. Tip: Make the sauce a few days early and keep in fridge before re-heating.

Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce

  • 2 TBS salted, fermented black beans
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TBS light soy sauce
  • 1 TBS Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 TBS cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBS water
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 2 green onions, trimmed of roots and minced

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce to simmer and cover.

Rinse cured black beans in mesh colander and place in blender. Mash together in food processor with chili sauce, ginger and garlic.

In a small bowl, stir together chicken broth, soy sauce and rice wine.

Heat wok or sauté pan over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add black-bean seasoning and stir-fry about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute.

Add shrimp to simmering water, turn off heat and cover for about 1 minute. (Larger shrimp or peel-on shrimp may take 2 minutes.) Drain, add to sauce with basil leaves and green onions. Toss and serve over rice. Serves 4.

Gary: The spice of the chili sauce, ginger and garlic, the green aromatics of the basil and salty earthiness of the black beans call for a more richly textured white. Look for some of the more flavorful Italian whites, such as Greco or Fiano, or Pinot Grigio from Collio or Lugana. White Rhône blends or Bordeaux Blanc also would pair nicely. And a light rosé that emphasizes fruit could also be a fine choice.

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