Dragon Scallops with Burning Oil Sauce – Gok Cooks Chinese recipes

Chopsticks were invented before forks, and handswere around before chopsticks – and never will eating with your fingers feel so satisfying as tucking into this dish. It conjures up memories for me of total food euphoria, as Dad would usually cook this for us as a tastebud teaser, flirting with our hunger before we eventually devoured a 25-million-course family meal!

Dad’s inner showman would take centre stage as he dramatically ladled the chilli oil into the soy sauce, creating an explosion of spitting oil accompanied by a firecracker soundtrack. The smell of frying chillies would engulf the room as we drenched our seafood in sauce which danced around our senses. Result: simplistic food harmony.

Dragon Scallops with Burning Oil Sauce

6 cleaned scallops with roes attached, shells washed
a 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
salt and ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the burning oil sauce
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
½ a spring onion, finely sliced
1–2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½–1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
75ml groundnut oil


1. Place each scallop along with its roe into the deeper half of its shell. Divide and sprinkle over the ginger and spring onion (making sure there is an equal mix of green and white parts in each shell), and season with a little pepper and a pinch of salt.

2. Place the scallops in their half shells into a large bamboo steamer and spoon just a few drops of water over each scallop if they are very small. Cover with a lid and steam over a wok of boiling water for 6–7 minutes (depending on size) or until just cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, make the burning oil sauce. Mix together the chilli, spring onion, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil in a heatproof serving bowl. Pour the groundnut oil into a pan and heat until smoking, then very carefully pour over the chilli mix, watching out for hot oil splashes. Once the oil has calmed
down, mix everything together.

4. Serve the cooked scallops in their shells, being careful to retain all the liquid. Serve with the burning oil sauce on the side to spoon over, and eat immediately.

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