• 8-10 medium OR 4-5 large sea scallops (SERVES 2 for an Appetizer or Tapas plate)
  • 2 Tbsp. oil for frying
  • salt and pepper


  • 3 Tbsp. good-tasting oil, such as coconut, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced (OR substitute 1/4 red bell pepper)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if not using fresh chili)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut milk OR 2 tsp. butter
  • optional: 1/2 tsp. sugar


  • bed of mixed garden green, plus Thai herbs (fresh basil and coriander)
  • wedges of fresh cut lime


  • Rinse scallops and pat dry. Place on a clean, dry surface.
  • Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat (allow pan to warm up at least 1 minute). While the pan is warming up, use a paper towel or clean tea towel to gently dab any remaining moisture from the scallops. Tip: The scallops must be very dry before frying in order to achieve a good sear.
  • Add 2 Tbsp. oil to the wok (or frying pan) and swirl around.
  • Gently place the scallops in the pan, leaving enough space between so you'll have room to turn. Allow the scallops to cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes (trying to turn them too early will cause skin to tear). Larger scallops may take as long as 3-4 minutes per side. While scallops are cooking, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Use an egg-turner to gently turn the scallops. Season once more with salt and pepper. Scallops are done when both sides have a nice crispy-looking crust and are firm to the touch. Also, you will see them 'open' slightly, as though they are going to flake.
  • Remove scallops from the wok/pan and place on paper towel or clean tea towel to drain.

For the sauce

  • Place all sauce ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat-high. Stirring occasionally, warm the sauce for 1-2 minutes only - just long enough to bring out the flavor of the garlic and turn the fresh chili (or bell pepper) bright red. Avoid cooking the sauce.
  • Remove from heat and taste-test, adding a little more fish sauce if not salty enough (1 tsp.), or a little more lime juice if too salty. Add a little sugar if too sour.
  • Place the scallops on a bed of lettuce and/or herbs such as fresh coriander and basil. Pour or spoon the sauce over the scallops.
  • Serve this entree on its own, with rice, or with a little French bread to soak up the juices.