Stir-fried scallops with spinach and forbidden rice.

I keep thinking one of these days would be the perfect day to stay home from work and bask in my own laziness. I don’t know which day yet, but I feel like Seattle’s gloomy, fall-like weather calls for at least one long, slovenly day of laying on the couch in front of the fire, watching old movies. Doesn’t that sound cozy? And baking pies. Pumpkin pies. Lots of ’em.

Contrary to some of my less-than-angelic foodie tendencies, last night’s dinner, while very special and preceded by an oh-so-deserved lazy Sunday, was quite nutritious, not to mention thoroughly delicious. After much pondering and searching of the vast interwebs, I decided on a recipe out of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, a cookbook by fellow blogger Grace Young. Although I had purchased the cookbook many months ago (during my stir-frying kick back in April), I had had yet to test out a recipe. Last night was the night. I bring you: Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy┬áSpinach. (I did not happen to have baby bok choy on hand at the time.)

Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Spinach


6 ounces medium fresh sea scallops
1 tablespoon chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon chili bean sauce
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 1 cup)
2 chopped scallions


1. Rinse the scallops under cold water, removing the muscle and any visible bits of shell or grit, and set on paper towels. With more paper towels, pat the scallops dry. Cut the scallops horizontally in half so all the pieces are about 1/2 inch thick. In a small bowl combine the broth, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, and cornstarch.

2. Heat 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot. Swirl in 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, add the ginger and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry for 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the aromatics to the sides of the skillet. Carefully add the scallops and spread them evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the scallops begin to sear. Sprinkle on 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the scallops are opaque but not cooked through. Transfer the scallops to a plate.

3. Swirl the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil into the wok, add the spinach and bell peppers, sprinkle on the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the spinach just begins to wilt. Return the scallops with any juices that have accumulated to the wok. Restir the broth mixture, swirl it into the wok, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the scallops are just cooked. Stir in the scallions.

4. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked forbidden rice. Yes, I added this step. Forbidden rice is kinda my new favorite thing.


Spicy Scallops with Lime & Chile

Tonight’s meal plan called for a Perricone recipe involving scallops (Scallops with Garlic and Parsley, if you’re curious). His recipe was incredibly simple and involved a frying pan, so I decided to liven it up a bit by instead using a recipe from my current favorite stir-fry cookbook, aptly titled Wok and Stir-Fry. (And after finding that link on Amazon, I continued on to search for more cookbooks… I’m such a dedicated consumer.)


16 large scallops, shelled
1 tbsp butter (I used coconut oil)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (again, I used coconut oil)
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp grated fresh gingerroot
1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced
finely grated rind of 1 lime
1 small fresh red chile, seeded and very finely chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
lime wedges, to garnish
freshly cooked rice, to serve (I don’t usually eat rice, so I didn’t serve with it, but this was from the original recipe)


Using a sharp knife, trim the scallops to remove any black intestine, then wash and pat dry with paper towels. Separate the corals from the white parts, then slice each white part in half horizontally, making 2 circles.

Heat the butter and oil (or just the oil) in a preheated wok. Add the garlic and gingerroot and stir-fry for 1 minute without browning. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the scallops and continue stir-frying over high heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the lime rind, chile, and lime juice and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Transfer the scallops to serving plates, then spoon over the cooking juices and garnish with lime wedges. Serve hot with freshly cooked rice.

And now, for the final product (drumroll please)…

Vietnamese-Style Caramel-Braised Chicken

Serves four.


1/4 cup fish sauce
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce and 1/4 cup water. In another small bowl, mix the shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.

Put the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Let the melted sugar come to a boil and cook, swirling the pan occasionally at first and more frequently as the sugar browns, until it has caramelized to a deep amber color, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and, standing back to avoid spatters, slowly add the fish sauce mixture to the pan. Swirl the pan to combine, return to medium heat, and bring to a boil. Add the shallot mixture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots soften, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces to the pan in a single layer, reduce the heat to medium-low or low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Et voila.