Steamed Oysters with Black Bean Sauce (Oesters van Nam Kee)

These oysters are a famous dish from Chinese restaurant Nam Kee in Amsterdam, because a book and movie have been named after them (and because they are so good). The oysters are steamed with a Chinese black bean sauce. You could use store-bought black bean sauce, but it will be so much better and is easy if you make it yourself. The nice thing about this dish is that many people who do not like to eat raw oysters, do love this dish. The aromas of oysters and black sauce go so well together. At Nam Kee the dish is made using really big oysters, but I personally prefer it with smaller oysters because you can eat each one in a single bite.


For 12 oysters (the recipe can easily be scaled to another amount of oysters)

12 oysters

3 Tbsp salted fermented black beans

2 Tbsp shaoxing Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp minced red chilli pepper, or to taste

1 Tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp (black) rice vinegar

1 tsp sugar

2 scallions (green onions), green part sliced and white and light green part minced

cooking oil


Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a saucepan or small frying pan. Add minced garlic, chillies, ginger, and scallions. (Reserve sliced green scallions for garnish.)

Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, allow the black beans to soften in hot water.

After 10 minutes of soaking, drain the black beans and mash them with a spoon.

Add the black beans to the aromatics.

Stir and cook for another minute.

Add 2 Tbsp rice wine, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp rice vinegar. (You can mix them in a bowl first, but that is not necessary. If you do, make sure the sugar is not left behind in the bowl.)

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer until the liquid has gone (there will be oil left).

Arrange the oysters in a steaming basket in a single layer.

Steam for 5 minutes.

The oysters should now be relatively easy to open. Make sure to protect your hands.

Put the opened oysters back in the steamer. Spread a generous teaspoon of black bean sauce on top of each oyster.

Steam for another 2 minutes.

Garnish with the reserved sliced green part of the scallions. Heat some cooking oil, and sprinkle each oyster with about half a teaspoon of hot oil. (Other than shown in the photo, it is better to use the oil after the green onions have been added.)


Wine pairing

This is great with a gewurztraminer from Alto Adige/Südtirol.



Pollo alla Cacciatora is an Italian classic. It means chicken prepared in the style of the hunter’s wife, which is chicken stewed in tomatoes with herbs, wine, carrot, celery, and onion.


10 thoughts on “Steamed Oysters with Black Bean Sauce (Oesters van Nam Kee)

  1. OK! OK! OK! Next time you devour this brilliance at Nam Kee let them send me the bill: it will have been worthwhile to get a method so inspired! Admittedly most of my Down-Under friends would be horrified; oysters au naturel for most purists here are the way to go . . . hmm . . . . always loved ‘Bercy’, could put up with ‘Tsarina’, thought the wonderful beasties overwhelmed by ‘Mornay; and ‘Kirkpatrick’ . . . . but this combo I truly want to try . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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