Simple Thai curry with scallops and string beans
Before you go running for the hills, let me assure you that this is actually a very simple Thai curry. I’m not just saying that. As long as you have curry paste, you can achieve serious depth of flavor in a short amount of time, even if you’re out of garlic, have never heard of ginger paste, and only have 1 fresh herb on deck. Because coconut milk (a must!) plus curry paste equals the best damn meal you can dream up without dialing take out. And while yes, scallops are hands down my favorite protein on the planet, you could serve this string bean curry over rice, omit the scallops completely, and call it a day. (But please don’t do that, because the scallops are so, so good here.)
I first began making curry at home when John and I lived in Queens. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world; to have that many cuisines represented in our back yard was completely inspiring. And we knew we were spoiled — we lived mere blocks from some of NYC’s best Thai restaurants.
It was then that I fell head over heels in love with Thai and Indian curries.
Sweet scallops, a bit of heat from the curry (though if you like it really hot, add some thinly sliced Thai chiles just before serving!)… to me, this is heaven. I could eat it every single day. Don’t forget the crushed peanuts, which add the perfect little crunch. If you are a lover of Thai food, this is going to be your new favorite.Print
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 cans coconut milk, (divided)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 16–20 large sea scallops ((about 1 lb))
- 4 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, (divided)
- 1 lb string beans, (ends trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces)
- 2 cloves garlic, (minced)
- 1 tsp ginger paste, (such as Trader Joe’s)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp red curry paste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, (plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Fresh basil, (for garnish)
- Fresh cilantro, (for garnish)
- 4 scallions, (thinly sliced, for garnish)
- ¼ cup peanuts, (crushed, for garnish)
- Combine rice, ¾ cup of coconut milk, and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place scallops on a paper towel lined plate, then place another paper towel on top so they are completely dry before searing.
- In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 2 Tbsp canola oil over high heat. Add string beans and cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic and ginger paste and cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
- Pour in remaining coconut milk, then add red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce, using the back of a spatula to throughly incorporate into the sauce. Add 2 Tbsp lime juice, stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more soy sauce or salt as needed. Reduce heat to a simmer while you cook the scallops.
- Heat a large griddle, grill pan, or heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Season scallops on both sides with 1 tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Melt butter, then add scallops to the pan, being careful to not let them touch. Cook for 1 ½ minutes per side, then remove.
- To assemble, place rice on the bottom of each bowl, then top generously with Thai curry with string beans. Place 3-5 scallops on each bowl, then garnish with fresh basil, cilantro, scallions, and crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.