• Shrimp and Tofu with Black Bean Sauce

    5 votes
    Shrimp and Tofu with Black Bean Sauce
    Prep: 15 min Cook: 10 min Servings: 6
    by John Spottiswood
    300 recipes
    We're on a mission to create the ultimate black bean sauce. This recipe is getting pretty close I think. I took bits from a traditional Chinese recipe and combined those with another few bits that I got from a Martin Yan recipe. The result was not as sweet as Martin Yan's, but with just enough sweetness to fill out the flavor of the dish and cause our kids to love it. Substitute red pepper flakes for the black pepper if you want to give this an extra kick.


    • 1 pound peeled shrimp
    • 1 package extra firm tofu
    • 1 pound broccoli or asparagus cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed briefly and drained
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
    • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
    • 1 small red onion, cut into thin slices (3/4 cup)
    • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or red pepper flakes)
    • 1 scallion, finely shredded


    1. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, cornstarch, 1 Tbsp of the rice wine, and 1 Tbsp of soy sauce. Stir to combine.
    2. In a small bowl, mash the fermented black beans with the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp of soy sauce. In another small bowl, combine the broth and remaining 1 tablespoon of rice wine. Set aside.
    3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the 2 tablespoons of oil, add the red onion and freshly ground black pepper, then use a spatula to stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the onions begin to wilt.
    4. Push the onions to the sides of the wok, carefully add the tofu, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok or pan. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, letting the tofu begin to sear. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until the tofu is lightly browned. Move the tofu on top of the onions and add the broccoli or asparagus and stir fry for 1 minute. Move the broccoli on top of the onions and tofu and add the shrimp and the black bean sauce. Stir fry for 1 minute. Wirl the broth mixture into the wok and cook for another minute.
    5. Add the shredded scallion, transfer to a plate, and serve immediately.

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    • Nancy Miyasaki
      Nancy Miyasaki
      Everyone in our family loves stir fry with black bean sauce and this is the best John has made so far. The sweetness of the brown sugar combined with the spiciness of the garlic, ginger and black pepper is really wonderful.


      • Bill Farley
        Bill Farley
        I had a shrimp and black bean sauce meal at a Chinese restaurant many years ago and have been trying ever since to duplicate. Will try this and let you know. Looks scrumptious.
        • Amos Miller
          Amos Miller
          Sounds excellent, John. As a 2-wok household, I can taste this before I cook it! I find the Chinese cooking wine indespensible for wokking. I will try this out and I will use Szechuan red peppercorns, for the unique cool, almost minty bite they add to the shrimp. Well done! - Amos
          • John Spottiswood
            John Spottiswood
            Thanks for the helpful comment, Amos. Next time I'm at Marina Market (our local Chinese supermarket), I'm going to pick up some of those Szechuan red peppercorns so I can try them!

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