Sichuan Stir-fried Scallops, 川味香辣炒扇貝, uses Chili Paste and Garlic to add aromatic and fiery notes to stir-fried sweet little Bay Scallops, Red Pepper and Peanuts.
This dish is the sort of thing that could easily be called ‘Kung Pao’ style Scallops in your typical Westernized Chinese Restaurant. If served in such an establishment, it might have a few other vegetable ingredients to cut down on food costs, but the mere inclusion of both Chili and Peanuts would be sufficient to call it a Kung Pao dish. This preparation doesn’t actually meet the requirements of a properly traditional Kung Pao specialty, though, as it omits the characteristic scorched dried chillies and replaces the sweet and sour notes with Garlic and Red Bell Pepper.
Ingredient Notes for 川味香辣炒扇貝
You might be tempted to think of the tiny scallops pictured above as ‘Baby Scallops’ although they are more properly known (at least in my part of the world) as ‘Bay Scallops’. They don’t have the same satisfying chewy bite of the much larger – and more expensive – ‘Sea Scallops’, but they have a much sweeter flavor.
You should dice your Bell Pepper into squares with roughly the same width as the diameter of your scallops, and then sort through your peanuts to remove any that are broken and replace them with whole ones only. This latter step is not critical, but having your peanuts all the same size and shape will improve the appearance of the finished dish.
How to Make Sichuan Stir-fried Scallops
I am not sure why I bothered with this not very helpful picture, but it does illustrate the second step of the cookery process, which involves briefly deep-frying the Scallops until just beginning to take on a nice golden hue here and there. The first step, is to marinate them in Rice Wine for about thirty minutes or so. If you don’t have Rice Wine, you can substitute a Dry Sherry instead.
The Garlic and Chili Pastes are very briefly fried in oil to release their aromatic qualities, and lend the oil a nice red color, and then the Red Bell Pepper is added and stir-fried for a minute or two until just softened slightly.
Finally, the Scallops and Peanuts are added along with the salt and fried for minute or so until everything is heated through. You want to plate and serve this immediately while still hot from the pan.
Your Recipe Card for 川味香辣炒扇貝:
Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers
- 1/2 lb Baby Scallops;
- ½ cup Peanuts;
- 1 small Red Bell Pepper;
- 1 tsp. Rice Wine or substitute dry sherry;
- ½ tsp. Garlic Paste;
- 1 Tbsp. Chili Paste;
- 1 pinch Salt;
- Toss the scallops with the rice wine and leave to marinate for at least thirty minutes.
- Trim and cut the red pepper into small squares then sort the peanuts, discarding and replacing any that are not whole.
- Deep-Fry the scallops in hot oil until just golden and then remove and drain away excess oil.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan over moderately high heat and briefly sauté the garlic and chili pastes.
- Add the Bell Pepper and fry just until it softened.
- Add the scallops and peanuts along with the salt, fry for minute or so longer, then plate and serve immediately.