Ginger, Chili and Soy Steamed Scallops

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a selection of mains

Appears in

This is a traditional Chinese recipe and fresh scallops are a must. If you don’t know how to clean the scallops, get your local fishmonger to prepare them for you, but do ask for the shells as these not only present the scallops beautifully, they also retain the scallops’ flavors and sweet juices once steamed. The way to eat these is to pop a scallop in your mouth then bring your lips to the shell and drink the delicious juices. Ideally this dish is presented and served with other meat and vegetable dishes at the table and shared and accompanied with jasmine rice. However, they can also make for a delicious appetizer for two.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes


  • 10 scallops on the shell

For the Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 oz shallots, chopped into small pieces
  • small handful of cilantro leaves, shredded


  1. Pry open the scallop shells if necessary using a sharp chopping knife. Cut through the muscle that attaches the scallop to its shell and wash the scallops and shells well under cold running water. Discard the corals if you prefer. Place each scallop back on one shell and place these in 2 large bamboo steamers.
  2. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and spoon 1 teaspoon of the dressing over the scallops.
  3. Stack one bamboo steamer on top of the other and place the lid on the top.
  4. Pour 4 cups water into a wide-based wok and bring to the boil. Place the bamboo steamers in the wok making sure the base is not immersed and steam for 5–6 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a small pan and add the vegetable oil. Deep fry the garlic and shallots until crispy, then strain the oil and collect the crispy garnish and drain on paper towels.
  6. When the scallops are cooked they will be opaque white and slightly firm to the touch. Remove them from the steamer, garnish with shredded cilantro and sprinkle with the crispy garlic and shallots. Serve immediately.