Thai Scallops with Black Chilli Quinoa


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Quinoa Cookbook

The Quinoa Cookbook

By Penny Doyle

Published 2013

  • About

The aromatic flavours of Thai spices and herbs give quinoa the lift and twist that it needs. Black quinoa has a firmer texture than white, and has a striking inky colour and an earthy flavour, which complements the pale, opaque scallops. This dish is ideal either as a simple supper or as part of a Thai meal for entertaining.


  • 275 g/10 oz fresh scallops
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, finely chopped
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp sesame oil

For the marinade

  • 15 ml/1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 25 g/1 oz fresh root ginger, grated
  • ½ banana shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 5 ml/1 tsp finely chopped lemon grass
  • 5 ml/1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

For the black chilli quinoa

  • 275 g/10 oz/1⅔ cups black quinoa
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz/1⅔ cups coconut milk
  • 600 ml/1 pint/ cups water
  • ½ banana shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish
  • prawn (shrimp) crackers, to serve


  1. First make the marinade. Place all of the ingredients into a mini blender and process until they form a coarse paste. Alternatively, blend them together using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Place the scallops, spring onions and red pepper in a large bowl and add the marinade. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Prepare the chilli quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in water, then transfer to a pan.
  4. Add the coconut milk, water, shallot and chilli to the pan. Bring the quinoa to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-14 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked but firm. Drain, reserving any excess liquid, and set aside.
  5. When you are ready to serve, heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the scallops, vegetables and marinade and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes on a high heat, until the scallops are cooked and fragrant, the vegetables softened and the liquid evaporated. Add the quinoa to the pan and toss around to warm through.
  6. Divide the quinoa and scallop mixture between four bowls, then pour over the warmed reserved juices from cooking the quinoa. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve straight away.


Use fresh king prawns (jumbo shrimp) in place of the scallops.

Nutritional Information: Gluten free with GF soy sauce Energy 422kcal/1742kJ; Protein 25g; Carbohydrate 55g, of which sugars 10g; Fat 12g, of which saturates 2g; Cholesterol 26mg; Calcium 138mg; Fibre 6g; Sodium 854mg.