Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pan seared scallops with Thai style sauce, herbs and apples

My dad owns a restaurant so whenever I go over to my parents for dinner I take home a box of veges and other fresh produce. I recently acquired some scallops, when my family eats scallops we usually steam them with crushed garlic, bean threads, spring onion/coriander and a special soy sauce mixture.

One of the best scallop dishes I have had was an entrée at Nahm Thai (223 Bulwer Street, Perth) of seared scallops which from memory had fried salmon, apples, herbs and a red curry sauce. It was delicious and I loved all the different flavours in the dish.

So with my stock of scallops I decided to try searing them and make a Thai style sauce with herbs, and include apples. 

Frying Apples

Chop up a granny smith apple into thin slices (half moon shapes) and thin batons. Heat some ghee (clarified butter) in a frying pan and fry the apples slices over medium heat until they have browned on both sides. Remove apple slices from the pan and place on a paper towel. Lightly fry the apple batons till had softened but not browned. 

Searing Scallops

Note: scallops must be very dry and the pan has to be very hot in order to get a good sear

Rinse the scallops and place them in a single layer on paper towels and cover with another layer of paper towels, press lightly on the scallops to remove any moisture. Remove the scallops from the paper towels and season with some salt and pepper. 

Heat a frying pan over med-high heat, add in some oil and swirl around. Gently place the scallops in the pan and allow the scallops to cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes until seared/well browned on one side (larger scallops may take 3-4 minutes per side) and then turn over and sear the other side. Scallops are done when both sides have a crispy looking caramel coloured crust, and the flesh has lost its translucency and turned opaque. Remove the cooked scallops from the pan and place on paper towels. 

The seared scallops tasted amazing, I could have devoured them all as they were, no other seasonings were necessary. Scallops do not really need much to make them taste great (you can actually eat them raw), you just have to make sure that you cook them right and get them nicely tender and juicy,  scallops will toughen and become dry with overcooking. 

Thai Style Sauce with Herbs

To make a thai style sauce for the scallops, heat some oil in a saucepan and lightly fry some crushed garlic, minced fresh red chillies, finely diced coriander stalk, fish sauce and coconut milk. Stir together and then add in some white sugar and palm sugar, and thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves. Cook the sauce for only 1-2 minutes, just long enough to bring out the flavour of the garlic/chillies but don’t cook for too long or it will loose its fresh flavour and nutrients. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in a little lime juice. Taste and adjust with more sugar and fish sauce to achieve desired taste. Stir in some sweet basil leaves and coriander leaves. 

Below is a very rough guide for the ingredients in the sauce, I relied on my taste to achieve a balance of hot, sweet and sour so adjust the quantities as necessary.
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1-2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of finely diced coriander stalk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar
  • 2 thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • some sweet basil leaves and coriander leaves

To Serve

Place the scallops on top of the apple slices, spoon the thai sauce/herbs over the scallops and place some apple batons on top. 

The acidity and tangy-sweet flavour of granny smith apples goes really well with the natural sweetness of the scallops.


  1. these look awesome! i am hanging out so hard now for some scallops.

  2. Thanks Soda. Scallops are one of my favourite seafoods!