Wok-Fried Scallops with Pak Choy & Peanut Sauce

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

Wok-frying imparts a slightly smoky taste to a lot of food – it’s the high heat that does it. Scallops especially improve with this method (or with char-grilling), but you can also smoke them as in the venison recipe, taking care to not overcook them. Scallops are always best eaten rare in the middle. If you can’t find pak choy use any Chinese green or finely shredded savoy cabbage.


  • 18 large scallops, shelled
  • Sesame oil
  • 600g (lb) pak choy, washed and chopped into 6cm (2½ in) lengths
  • 10ml (fl oz) Asian fish sauce, diluted with 30ml (1fl oz) water
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 fresh juicy limes

Peanut Sauce

  • ¾ cup toasted peanuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • ½ green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 300ml (11fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk


Trim any muscles or membranes from the scallops, wash gently in cold water and dry well. Mix with just enough sesame oil to coat them and leave to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

To make the sauce, put the peanuts, garlic, ginger, chilli and sugar in a food processer and purée to a coarse paste, then briefly mix in the coconut milk.

Heat up a wok until it’s really hot. Add nine scallops and cook for 1 minute on each side, tossing gently for a few seconds at the end. Transfer them to a warm bowl and put the wok back on the heat. Do the next nine scallops the same way. When finished, put a few tablespoons of sesame oil in the wok and, once it’s really hot, add the pak choy and toss every 10 seconds for half a minute. Add the diluted fish sauce and fry for a further 20 seconds. Now add the peanut sauce and bring to the boil. Add the scallops and just warm them through, stirring once. Serve with the coriander on top and some lime segments.