An easy, elegant starter for Chinese New Year
This is an easy, elegant starter for Chinese New Year, or you could serve it as a small main course. There is nothing healthier than steaming: my grandmother always advocated it, especially when it came to fish or shellfish, because if the seafood is not fresh it will not be fragrant and sweet.
4 large hand-dived king scallops, in their shells
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
2-inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp coriander, finely chopped
For the topping:
250ml groundnut oil, for deep frying
2 medium shallots, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves, shredded to garnish
With a sharp chopping knife, prise open the scallop shells by running the knife on the inside of the shell, releasing the attached membrane.
Pull off the frill, the black stomach sack and any other pieces that are around the meat of the scallop and discard, leaving just the white flesh and any coral. Rinse the scallop thoroughly in cold water—ask your fishmonger to prepare the scallops for you, if you’d prefer.
In a small bowl, combine the chilli, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce and coriander. Place the scallops on a heatproof plate, and spoon over one teaspoon of the dressing. Set the plate on a bamboo steamer.
Half-fill a wok with boiling water and rest the bottom of the steamer over the wok, making sure it doesn't touch the water. Cover with a lid and steam the scallops for 5-6 mins.
While they're steaming, deep fry the shallots and garlic in hot oil until crisp (it should take less than 1 min). Pour the oil through a sieve, reserving the browned shallots and garlic, and drain on absorbent paper.
Serve the scallops, spoon some of the reserved dressing, and sprinkle over the crispy shallots and garlic. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Recipe: Ching He-Huang