Seared Japanese Scallops with Asparagus: These savoury and oh-so-tender Japanese scallops go perfectly with the crunchy natural sweetness of fresh asparagus, which helps to balance out the dish. It may be costly though, so reserve this dish for a special occasion!
This recipe is WAY overdue, since we first posted about it on Facebook. Why? If you have been following our Facebook page you will know that we have launched our very own line of durian pudding dessert. So things have been very busy but also very exciting!
Also, my mum Bee Leng has also been invited as a guest in a local cooking show which is coming up soon! We can’t reveal details yet, but needless to say, we are very excited and humbled by the latest developments and progress in our slightly-under-a-year-old blog. We remain forever grateful to all our wonderful supporters, especially our earliest fans who watched us grow from 0 to over 7,600 Facebook followers during this time. Thank you all!
(UPDATE 1: Bee Leng’s episode on Channel 8’s <Ah Ma Can Cook> show is now available on toggle! Click here to watch!)
Cooking with Scallops
Announcements now out of the way, so let’s get back to the recipe! One of Bee Leng’s friends gave her a packet of Fukuyama Frozen Japanese Scallops, so we were very excited to try it out. My mum decided to pair these large succulent Japanese scallops with crunchy asparagus for our dinner!
This is a photo I took of the scallops when I took it out of the bag. Look how huge and succulent they look! I was super excited at the prospect of biting into such a large scallop. But my mum then told me that the scallops would reduce in size after cooking because of the high water content. Of course she was right, but the scallops were nonetheless very good sized, so I’m not complaining!
A word about cooking scallops. Scallops are best seared or grilled on each side. But its not easy to cook scallops well. If you are not used to handling scallops, you may have a tendency to overcook the scallops, making them rubbery and unpalatable. This would be a great waste because scallops, whether fresh, frozen or dried, are very expensive. So do pay special attention to Bee Leng’s recipe instructions below for searing the scallops!
You will notice that this recipe uses minimal seasoning. That is because scallops have a sweet, mild flavour that taste best on its own without any additional flavouring which can be too overwhelming. It is still best to simply enjoy the scallop’s natural flavour, because that’s what we are paying for!
Cooking with Asparagus
As for the asparagus, its important that you choose asparagus that is not too old and they tend to be very fibrous. Wikihow has a pretty good guide for how to choose asparagus here. But just to add some local context, you are better off choosing the Mexico asparagus rather than the Thailand asparagus, as it is thicker, crunchier and has a more substantial bite after cooking. Also, make sure that you cut off the tough lower part of the stem (starting 4cm from the bottom) which tend to be pretty fibrous and can ruin the whole dish!
>>Get more Chinese New Year Recipes here
Now to the most exciting part of all. The finished product – presenting our Seared Japanese Scallop with Asparagus! Admittedly, the photography is not the best because of less than ideal lighting (it was already sunset by the time mum finished cooking this dish and I started the photo shoot). But it was truly delicious and succulent, a dish worth waiting for a special occasion to eat. If you love seafood, its totally worth trying out this recipe on the next special occasion at home!
Hope you enjoy this recipe, and please leave us a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for us!
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Seared Japanese Scallops with Asparagus
These savoury and oh so tender Japanese scallops goes perfect with the crunchy natural sweetness of asparagus, which help to balance out the dish. It may be costly though, so reserve this dish for a special occasion!
- 12 Large Scallops (Frozen)
- 450 gm Asparagus
- 1 clove Chopped Garlic
- 3 Slices Ginger
- 2 TBsp Chinese Wine (Hua Tiao Chiew / Shaoxing Wine)
- 1/2 tsp Corn flour
- 3 TBsp Water To mix with the cornflour
- A Dash Pepper
- 2-3 TBsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
PREPARATIONS FOR SEARED JAPANESE SCALLOPS WITH ASPARAGUS (15 MIN)
Cut off the tough stem from the asparagus (about 4 cm from the stem). Wash and cut the asparagus diagonally about 2 cm lengthwise leaving the tips whole.
Remove skin from the garlic and chop finely.
Next, remove the skin from the ginger and slice thinly.
Mix 3 TBsp of water with 1/2 tsp of cornflour and set aside.
Thaw the frozen scallops completely and wash them. You should remove any tough ligaments from the side of the scallops if any, then wash and drain.
COOKING METHOD FOR SEARED JAPANESE SCALLOPS WITH ASPARAGUS (20 MIN)
In a pot of boiling water, blanch the scallops for about 3 minutes to get rid of the excess water from the thawed scallops.
Transfer the scallops onto a plate and pat dry with a piece of kitchen towel.
Season the scallops with a little salt and pepper.
In a non stick pan, heat up the 1 TBsp of oil until shimmering. Working in batches, sear the scallops over moderate high heat until golden, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the seared scallops onto a warmed plate.
Wipe the pan with a piece of kitchen towel, then in the same pan, heat up 1 TBsp of oil. Add in the sliced ginger and fry till aromatic. Then add in the chopped garlic and fry for a min.
Next, add in the asparagus and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add in a pinch of salt and 2TBsp of Hua Tiao Jiu, then continue to fry for another minute. Lastly add in the cornflour mixture and mix well.
Use the spatula to push the asparagus to the side of the pan, then add in the seared scallops, coating them well with the gravy.
Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot
- Don't be deceived by the size of the frozen scallop. Once thawed, they shrink quite a big. Scallops absorb lots of water and get plumped up once frozen.
- Even after thawing, the scallops still retain some of the water. Therefore it is necessary to blanch them before searing otherwise your pan will be flooded with water. After blanching, make sure to pat dry the scallop to remove as much water as possible before cooking. Searing the scallop for about 2-3 minutes on each side over medium high heat should give the scallop a beautiful sear, and a soft and tender interior.
- Cook the scallops in small batches. Overcrowding the pan with scallops create lots of steam, so the scallops will get steamed rather than seared, which is the effect we want.
- Often scallops are soaked in water with preservative and salt to prevent them from turning bad. So taste the scallops first before adding salt to it otherwise the dish will be too salty.
- Do not buy the Thai Asparagus for this dish. Get the Mexican Asparagus for they are thicker, crunchier and have more substance.
- You will need to cut off about 4cm of the stem from the bottom as the stem ends are usually very fibrous.
- Optional: You may also want to cut off the outer part of the asparagus stems if they are slightly fibrous, but its not a must if the asparagus is tender enough.
- Do not overcook the asparagus. It should be crunchy, not soft.
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: No modifications needed.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.