Scallops with rich red curry

Scallops with rich red curry

New Thai Food
Jeremy Simons

Grilled shellfish such as crayfish or prawns is also delicious cooked in this curry. Garnishing each scallop with a little fresh coconut cream adds richness to the dish.


Quantity Ingredient
60ml coconut oil or canola oil, plus extra 1½ tablespoons
3 tablespoons Red curry paste
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
50g palm sugar, shaved
400ml coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves, julienned, plus 2 extra leaves, to garnish
2 long red chillies, seeded and sliced into uneven lengths
12 scallops, on the half shell
5g thai basil leaves
1 long red chilli, julienned, to garnish
coconut cream, to garnish


  1. Heat 60 ml oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the red curry paste and fry, stirring continuously, until the paste is fragrant and it releases the oil – this takes about 6 minutes. (As the moisture in the curry paste evaporates, the oil is released, which indicates that the paste is cooked out.)
  2. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and cook, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved into the paste, for about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk to moisten, then bring to the boil. Add the whole lime leaves and bird’s eye chillies and taste for seasoning – it should be salty and sweet. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and check for seasoning again, adjusting as necessary. Stir in the basil. The curry sauce should now be quite thick, with a thin film of oil on top.
  4. Heat a hotplate or chargrill pan on medium–high. Dab each scallop with ½ teaspoon oil. Place the scallops on their shells on the hotplate or chargrill pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving platter.
  5. Lift up each scallop and place 1 tablespoon of the curry sauce on the shell. Replace the scallop and garnish with the julienned long red chilli, julienned lime leaves and coconut cream.


  • You could use sea scallops (with no shell) instead. Rather than grilling, simply stir the loose scallops into the finished curry sauce and remove from the heat – the residual heat will cook them. Garnish and serve.
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