This scallop curry is creamy, fragrant, sweet, savory and a little bit spicy. With less than 10 ingredients and 30 minutes, this dinner is easy to make any night of the week. Coconut milk and spicy Thai red curry paste pair up to take your taste buds to Thailand. Ready? Let's go! (This is gluten free and dairy free.)
This is a sponsored post in partnership with West Coast Wild Scallops and Buy BC. All opinions and ideas are my own.
This project is supported by the BC Government’s Buy BC Partnership Program;
delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with funding from the
Government of British Columbia.
The Government of British Columbia is committed to working with industry partners.
Opinions expressed in this document are those of Sabrina Currie and not necessarily
those of the Government of British Columbia or the Investment Agriculture Foundation
Why I made this easy curry
Who doesn't love a creamy coconut curry? This scallop curry is really easy, relying on red curry paste for depth of flavor and fresh garlic, ginger and herbs to keep it authentic and fresh tasting. Sweet swimming scallops are cooked from frozen so this dinner comes together fast. Thai Prawn Salad With Mango would make an excellent starter for this.
Frozen swimming scallops in shell (aka pink scallops or spiny scallops) are always cooked from frozen, making them a quick and easy dinner item to keep on hand. These sweet and tender shellfish are Ocean Wise and fished locally here in BC by West Coast Wild Scallops. You can easily order them online.
- Swimming Scallops - aka pink scallops and spiny scallops. These are sweet, delicate, cooked from frozen and just so beautiful in every dish they star in. Here in BC they are fished and frozen at sea by fishing family Joel and Melissa Collier of West Coast Wild Scallops. Swimming scallops are an Ocean Wise choice and perfect for this recipe.
- Red Curry Paste - I used Thai Kitchen brand but if you have another favorite, use that. (Do you have another favourite brand? Let me know in the comments what your favorite is.)
- Coconut Milk - Regular coconut milk is the best for this dish. Light coconut milk will not make this very creamy and coconut cream is very heavy and calorie dense.
- Fresh Herbs - Premade curry paste is great for adding depth of flavor but it can't compete with the flavor of fresh herbs, garlic and ginger. Supplementing the store bought curry paste with some fresh aromatics makes it taste like a fresh, homemade curry.
See recipe card for quantities.
This recipe couldn't be easier. If you are making rice to eat alongside, start your rice cooking before you start your scallop curry so that they are ready at the same time. If you are having naan bread or roti, wrap in foil and warm in the oven while you cook.
- Using a large pot or saucepan that has enough space for all your scallops, saute onion, garlic and ginger in the vegetable oil until soft and fragrant.
2. Add in the curry paste, stir and cook 2-3 more minutes. Cooking the curry paste briefly helps freshen up and intensify the flavors.
3. Add in the coconut milk, lime juice, salt and sugar and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste at this point. (Add more salt, pepper, sugar or lime to balance the flavor further if desired.)
4. Rinse excess frozen sea water glaze off scallops if required and add to pot while still frozen. Stir and put lid on.
5. Cook 5 minutes (until most scallops have opened).
6. Sprinkle basil and cilantro over and serve immediately with rice or naan bread.
Keep your scallops frozen. A quick rinse to melt any excess ice around the shells is all that's needed. Pop the scallops into a colander, rinse with cold fresh water then add to your simmering curry.
Cook the red curry in the pot before adding the coconut milk. It really helps the flavors come to life and meld together.
- Herbs - If you are missing basil or cilantro, add mint, scallions or parsley instead.
- Coconut Milk - This recipe is made with regular coconut milk but if you prefer you can use light coconut milk or coconut cream. This will make the broth thinner or heavier but the flavor will still be delicious.
- Dairy Cream -If you don't have coconut milk or simply don't like it, you can use 2 cups of heavy cream, and one cup of milk in place of the coconut milk.
- Green Scallop Curry – Swap an equal amount of Thai green curry paste for Thai red curry paste for a green coconut curry that is more basil flavored than chili flavored.
- Spicy – Like your curry authentically spicy? Add in a teaspoon to a whole tablespoon of hot chili sauce (sriracha or sambal oelek) at the same time as your curry paste. Alternatively, serve the hot sauce on the side for each guest to heat up their own as they like.
- Madras Curried Scallops – Use an equal amount of madras curry paste or 1 tablespoon of yellow curry powder added instead of the red curry paste for an Indian take on scallop curry.
This will keep well up to 2 days in the fridge but is truly best eaten fresh right when ready. This will not freeze well.
While you cannot cook your scallops ahead of time, you can make your curry ahead. Simply make until it is ready to add the scallops, then cool and refrigerate up to 2 days. When ready to finish, bring to a simmer on medium, add scallops and finish with your herbs.
FAQs and Expert Tips
That's ok! These scallops are only caught when live and swimming. They are then flash frozen meaning that they are ALL safe to eat. Sometimes a few don't open because of the freezing process but you can rest assured that they are safe because they were caught live and flash frozen within hours.
Once cooked, any that don't open on their own can be easily popped open with another half shell or a small knife and enjoyed.
Just like any curry dish, this curry goes well with a simple side that let's the flavor shine and cools the mouth from heat. Fresh, hot jasmine or basmati rice are a classic. A simple flat bread such as roti or naan bread are also welcome.
In Thailand, dinners are served family style. You might get a soup, one or two curries, rice and a vegetable and/or noodle stir fry. Diners will scoop a little of each on to their plate or bowl enjoying them with a spoon and fork (no knives!)
Swimming scallops are small and delicate. They should only be cooked briefly (1-5 minutes, depending on the method)until almost opaque. Steam or otherwise cook them just until shells are opening and immediately remove from heat to prevent overcooking. Overcooked scallops get tough and are much less tasty than lightly cooked scallops.
Yes. In fact scallops that are frozen at sea are often better quality and have better flavor than fresh ones that may have been travelling a long time and distance before getting to you.
In the case of swimming scallops that have been frozen at sea, they are BEST cooked from frozen. These sweet little bivalves cook up tender and sweet from frozen in just a couple of minutes.
Scallop curry is the perfect weeknight meal to serve family or friends. Keep these West Coast Wild Scallops in your freezer for quick and easy cooking whenever you feel like it.
If you enjoy this recipe, it would mean a lot if you would leave a rating and review or save it to Pinterest. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below or message me on Facebook or Instagram.
Cheers and happy cooking, Friends! Sabrina
Have a wonderful and delicious day my friends, thanks for reading along.
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 1 c Onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbsp Red Curry Paste (Add up to 2 tablespoon more if you want this really spicy) I use Thai Kitchen brand curry paste.
- 800 mls Coconut Milk (2 cans) I use Thai Kitchen regular coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon Lime Juice (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Sugar (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste) For authentic flavor, use fish sauce instead of salt.
- 8 c Frozen Swimming Scallops in shell
- ½ c Each: Basil and Cilantro
- In a large pot or saucepan with lid, heat oil on medium heat. Add and saute onion, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant.
- Add curry paste, stir and cook 2-3 more minutes, then add coconut milk and stir. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Add rinsed frozen scallops. Stir and put lid on. Cook 5 minutes (until most scallops have opened).
- Sprinkle basil and cilantro over top and serve immediately with rice or naan bread.