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Jun 10, 2023

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce

This Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce is incredibly rich and tasty.

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce in a bowl.

This stir fried squid recipe was developed by Chef Danny Chanwho taught it to Grace Young, for her book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. In fact, he contributed several recipes to the book, including Cantonese Pork with Chinese Broccoli, Stir-Fried Salmon with Wine Sauce, and Hong Kong Style Silky Stir-Fried Minced Beef

I love the exacting way he counts his snow peas. This recipe calls for twelve. Not eleven.... twelve. 

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce in a bowl.

With such exacting instructions, I'm pretty sure Danny would be disappointed in me for not following his instructions on slicing and cleaning the body of the squid. This is because I am still intimidated by the thought of dealing with a whole large squid. 

Instead, I cheated and bought tentacles and rings from my local fish restaurant. Next time I'm going to get all brave try cleaning it myself. Honest. 

There are 18 ingredients in this dish. Because I was on a quest to cook my way through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge and I had built up my Asian ingredient pantry, the only ingredients I had to buy were the squid, red bell peppers, and the snow peas. Sometimes being an ingredient hoarder actually pays off.


Cleaned squid: You can either clean your own or buy it already cleaned and cut up. I bought mine at a restaurant that has an attached fish market. 

Vegetables: Scallions, onions, red bell peppers, and snow peas (exactly 12)

Sauce Ingredients: Chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce dark soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry. 

Fermented black beans in a small blue bowl.

Even with all of these ingredients, this stir fry was really easy to make! You just have to practice mise en place and pre-mix and pre-measure all of your ingredients and set them out in the order that you will need them. 

Specialty Ingredients:

Most of these ingredients can be found in your local grocery store, with the exception of the squid, fermented black beans, and the dark soy sauce. 

Dark soy sauce is a Chinese soy sauce that adds an amazing depth of flavor and a bit of sweetness. It's also thicker than standard Japanese-style soy sauce. My favorite brand is Pearl River Bridge. Just a little bit adds a deep color to whatever you are preparing. You can usually find it in any Asian market. 

If you don't have it and can't find it, you can substitute a mixture of regular soy sauce, molasses, and sugar

The other specialty ingredient is fermented black beans (fermented soy beans/douchi). You can usually find them in a shrink-wrapped package at room temperature in your Asian grocery store. They are the secret ingredient for this stir-fry's sauce. 

Once you buy them, rinse and dry them, place them in an airtight container, and keep them in a cool dark place. I keep mine in the back of my refrigerator. They will last for a very long time (years). 

They are stinky until you cook them, and then they are so tasty!

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce in a bowl.

While the recipe does not specify the type of onion to use, I used red onions. 

The combination of all of the various condiments, the fermented black beans, garlic, and ginger produced an amazingly rich and flavorful dish. The squid remained tender, and the veggies were crisp and fresh, but what stood out was the killer homemade sauce.


The squid in this dish is blanched in boiling water for just 10 seconds and drained. The reason for blanching is to par cook the squid and to prevent the squid from getting tough and rubbery from spending too much time in the wok. Once you've blanched the squid, be sure to dry it thoroughly with paper towels. 

Mix a tablespoon of chicken broth, oyster sauce soy sauce, and dark soy sauce in a bowl. In another bowl, mix sesame oil, cornstarch, and another tablespoon of chicken broth. Also, be sure to rinse and smash the black beans. 

Heat the oil in your wok or large skillet and stir in the black beans, scallions, and garlic, and stir fry briefly. Add the onions and ginger and stir for one minute. Toss in the bell peppers, salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds more. 

Toss in the rice wine and give it a quick stir. Add the squid and snow peas, the soy sauce mixture, and stir-fry for a minute. Finally, add the cornstarch mixture and stir-fry for another 30 seconds and serve. 

While there are many delicious pre-made stir-fry sauces you can buy, combining your own ingredients as you stir fry will produce an amazing sauce. 

This week, the Sunday Funday group is sharing recipes for homemade sauces. This sauce for the squid, with so many ingredients, is developed as you create the stir-fry. It's so good!

Sunday Funday

Homemade Sauces

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce in a bowl.

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce

Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce
Yield: 4 Servings as part of a multicourse meal
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 15 Min
This Stir-Fried Squid with Black Bean Sauce is incredibly rich and tasty.


  • 1 pound fresh cleaned squid, cut into rings and tentacles
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and smashed into a paste with a fork
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white part of scallions
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onions (I used red onions)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 12 snow peas, strings removed


  1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and blanche the squid in the water for 10 seconds. Drain through a colander and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of the chicken broth and the oyster sauce and soy sauces.
  3. In a second small bowl, combine the sesame oil, cornstarch, and the other tablespoon of chicken broth.
  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the peanut oil, the black beans, scallions, and garlic, and stir for 10 seconds. Toss in the onions and ginger and toss for an additional minute. Add the bell peppers, salt, and pepper, and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the rice wine and stir for 20 seconds.
  6. Add the squid and snow peas, along with the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for one minute. The snow peas should begin to turn bright green.
  7. Toss in the cornstarch mixture (after restirring if necessary) and stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

10.47 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.84 g

Carbs (grams)

8.8 g

Fiber (grams)

1.5 g

Net carbs

7.28 g

Sugar (grams)

1.76 g

Protein (grams)

20.95 g

Cholesterol (grams)

264.37 mg
stir-fry, squid
main course
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Originally posted, May, 2016 and updated June, 2023. 

This recipe was adapted from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. You can find it on page 170 of the book. If you want to try your hand at stir frying squid, and want a comprehensive book on Asian ingredients (with pictures that you can take to your local Asian grocery and just point to!), get this book. The recipes are delicious, and will change how you think about Chinese food.

I also recommend The Breath of a Wok and The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, also by Grace Young. 

See more about her mission to save America's Chinatowns

More about Grace Young

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm in love with this Wok dish! So excited to try it! Saving & sharing! oxox

  2. Love your comment about feeling smug - a wonderful feeling isn't it? Seriously? A second fridge? Oh my! Your stir-fry is gorgeous, and you couldn't have picked a better dish to showcase it.

    1. Thanks Cathy. I'll also blame the counter depth fridge I bought when we remodeled our kitchen. But still, it's a wonderful feeling when you pull out a recipe and your shopping list is short! =) Small victories!

  3. You are a very brave lady! Sounds like it's been a culinary education cooking through this book.

    1. It has been Vicki. Something I really enjoy too.

  4. Karen, I am in awe once more... I am squid-challenged... Do not have the guts to cook it from scratch, although both Phil and I love it, and this recipe would be amazing... First, I am not sure I could get it fresh, maybe only frozen... and I feel quite intimidated by those tentacles...

    1. Thank you Sally!! You can get it fresh from Asian grocery stores, and frozen isn't all that bad. I think Whole Foods has frozen tentacles =) and rings. I went to the nicest local fish restaurant in town and charmed them into selling me some. I'm sure it cost more, but all I had to do was dump it into the wok!

  5. I have made shrimp with black bean sauce. Great idea to use squid instead. Thanks Karen.

    1. Shrimp sounds so much easier after my squid adventures.

  6. Back in 2018, you said you were less intimidated after reading this post: You can do this, Karen! P.S. Your dish is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks for the reminder!!! And thank you!

  7. A Chinese restaurant back in Mombasa, serves tofu with black bean sauce and I love it. I'll be trying out your black bean sauce to make my favourite dish at home. Hoping to find fermented black beans at a Chinese Store.


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