This family-style dish is not usually served at banquets. It is not considered elegant enough because the dark sauce covers the coral-colored shrimp. At home, it is enjoyed with great relish.–Helen Chen

Shrimp with black beans piled on a rectangular metal tray.

Shrimp with Black Beans

5 / 2 votes
Seafood and fermented black beans are commonly combined in Cantonese-style dishes. It's amazing how everyday ingredients take on a whole new character with just a little of this extraordinary seasoning.
David Leite
Servings3 to 4 servings
Calories274 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed with the side of a knife and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons fermented black beans, coarsely chopped


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the wine and cornstarch. Add the shrimp and mix well.
  • In a wok or stir-fry pan, heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Test by dipping the spatula into the shrimp mixture and then into the oil; it should sizzle. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, and black beans and stir a few times.
  • Mix up the shrimp mixture and add it to the pan. Add 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt as needed. Serve immediately.

Adapted From

Easy Chinese Stir-Fries

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 274 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 25 gFat: 17 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 191 mgSodium: 1459 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Helen Chen. Photo © 2009 Jason Wyche. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This delicious stir-fry is also ridiculously fast and easy. The recipe works perfectly as written. One tip I have to get the very best results is when you add the shrimp to the wok, don’t just dump it all in. Scatter the shrimp about the wok in a single layer. Let them sit still for a few seconds, then start stir-frying. I also like to very briefly brine the shrimp before stir-frying them. This only takes about 5 minutes, so it isn’t a big deal. Just fill a bowl with water, add some salt (I don’t measure, I just salt it like it’s pasta water), and let sit for 5 minutes or so. The exact time isn’t critical, but you don’t want leave them for a long time in the brine. This quick bath helps ensure that the shrimp stay juicy and succulent when exposed to the high heat of the wok.

Fermented black beans are one of my favorite flavors so I was eager to make this and it didn’t disappoint with flavors that are both aggressive and well-balanced. The whole dish comes together so fast, it will beat any rice you try to serve it with. Try as I might I couldn’t find whole fermented black beans so I substituted black bean sauce in 1=1 quantities, which worked great. Only difference is black bean sauce will tinge the entire dish black, so don’t expect it to look as light as the picture if you make that swap. Absolutely will make it again.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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