Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers
Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers

Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers

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

The Bay Scallops, Diced Bell Pepper, and Peanuts.
The Bay Scallops, Diced Bell Pepper, and Peanuts.

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.

The Basic Method

Deep-Frying the Scallops
Deep-Frying the 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.

Frying the Bell Pepper with the Aromatics.
Frying the Bell Pepper with the Aromatics.

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.

Finishing the Dish.
Finishing the Dish.

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:

Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers

These Spicy Bay Scallops are given a Kung Pao character with the inclusion of Chili Paste and Peanuts, and then paired with Sweet Bell Pepper and Garlic.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Bay Scallops, Chili Paste, Garlic Paste, Peanuts, Red Bell Pepper
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 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;

Instructions

  • 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.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!