Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shrimp and Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce

This simple stir-fry is fresh, fast, and flavorful—and the key is in the sauce. Fermented black bean sauce has a pleasantly pungent taste and aroma, with sweet and sour overtones. It’s available in bottles at Asian markets and in the international sections of some supermarkets.

Bottled Black Bean Sauce
Its bold flavor and thick consistency—think tomato paste—means a little goes a long way. In this recipe, only two tablespoons are enough to create a rich, velvety coating for the shrimp and broccoli. I say coating because this is not a saucy sauce. It simply clings to the main ingredients without being overpowering.    

Fermented Black Bean Sauce
Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

  • 2 tbsp bottled black bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 8-9 oz broccoli florets (about 3 cups), wide pieces cut in half lengthwise

  • 1 hot, red chile, finely chopped
  • 1 lb large shrimp (26-30 count), shelled and deveined
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • chopped scallions, for garnish
Broccoli Florets 
Peeled, Deveined Shrimp
  1. Combine the broth, black bean sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl, whisking to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
Black Bean Sauce
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil, swirling to coat. Add the broccoli florets and chile and stir-fry until the broccoli is lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.
Broccoli Beginning to Cook
Broccoli Beginning to Brown
  1. Add the shrimp, garlic, and ginger and season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until the shrimp turns pink, 3-4 minutes. (Cover the pan for a minute or so to help the shrimp cook evenly.)
Shrimp Beginning to Cook
Cooked Shrimp
  1. Re-whisk the broth mixture and add to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until velvety thick, about 2 minutes.
Sauce Added
To serve, divide the rice among 4 shallow bowls and divide the shrimp and broccoli mixture on top. Garnish with scallions and serve right away.

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