I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years! Sometimes we go out for dinner on New Years Eve and other times we stay at home and try a new recipe. This year’s recipe was: Vietnamese Braised Scallops. Not only were they easy to cook, I was able to make the sauce earlier in the day. It is great when you can make the sauce earlier since you can have the dishes washed, put away, and it makes dinner seem fairly effortless! I used my new enamel cast iron braising pan and the clean up was so easy. Another thing I like – easy clean up! The rice maker is a wonderful invention because while the rice was cooking the scallops were on the stovetop. The rice always comes out tender without the need to watch it or worry about it boiling over on the stovetop. The sauce was delicious and was enough for two servings over rice. The more red pepper flakes and scallions you add – the more heat. I did not need to add any other type of sauce as this sauce stands on its own.
I adapted this recipe from this website. Please refer to it for more tips from Molly.
1 pound Scallops
½ cup water
¼ cup Asian fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 shallot, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 scallions, diced
Cooked Jasmine Rice
Topped with scallions and red pepper flakes
You can make the sauce ahead of time to make it quicker for when you are ready to prepare this dish. In a small measuring cup add ¼ cup of the water and the Asian fish sauce. In a heavy sauce plan add the sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of the water – swirl pan to combine. Heat the skillet over medium heat until the sugar liquefies – you can stir it once or twice but you do not need to constantly stir the sugar and water mixture. When the sugar liquefies you do not need to stir it any more. Once the sugar starts to caramelize you want to boil it for about 8- to 12-minutes to darken the color – but be careful to not burn the mixture. I would keep an eye on it and not multi-task by doing other activities. Sugar can burn quickly!
Remove the saucepan from the stovetop. Slowly add the water and fish sauce mixture to the caramelized sugar and stir. Remember the pan is hot so I added it very slowly to cool down the sugar mixture. My sugar mixture did harden but it will melt again. Place saucepan back onto stovetop, and let the mixture boil for a few more minutes until it is smooth. At this point you can store the mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare the meal.
Rinse the scallops removing the muscle from the side and dry. Add the caramelized sauce to your braising pan and reheat. Take a taste test. Mine was a little more salty than I liked so I added about 2 tablespoons of water and it turned out great. Add shallots, red pepper flakes, and scallions and warm through. Add the scallops and cook for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. I like to serve my scallops over jasmine rice that I make in my rice cooker. I added more scallions and red pepper flakes when I served dinner. This will add more heat to the dish so be careful if you do not want the heat.