Steamed scallops with garlic and vermicelli

Steamed scallops with garlic and vermicelli

Chinese Unchopped
20 mins
Cooking time
5 mins
Martin Poole

I love the way scallops’ flavours speak for themselves. Their natural sweetness can be accentuated by stronger flavours (the chilli sauce below, for example) but you don’t want to add too much for fear of drowning them. This recipe is a bit like a game of Jenga, stacking as much onto one scallop shell as possible. It is a simple but much-loved, if not slightly luxurious, starter to any Chinese meal.


Quantity Ingredient
5 garlic cloves
1 spring onion
1 x 100g nest of dried mung bean vermicelli noodles
6 fresh whole king scallops, roes attached, cleaned
6 scallop shells, (ask your fishmonger for these)

The sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 fresh bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped
a thumb-size piece ginger, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a handful coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chilli oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Finely chop the garlic. Slice the spring onion into small rings and place in a small bowl for garnishing later.
  2. Put the vermicelli noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes until soft. Drain, then cut with scissors into small pieces.
  3. Arrange the scallop shells on a large plate. Divide the noodles between the scallop shells, then top each with a scallop. Scatter over the garlic.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or small ramekin until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  5. Set the wok up with a steamer stand and fill with boiling water to a third of the way up the sides. Place the scallop plate in the wok, cover with a lid and steam for 3–5 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops (see Tip).
  6. Remove the scallop plate from the wok. Drizzle the sauce over the scallops and scatter over the spring onion rings to finish.


  • To check whether the scallops are cooked, press a finger gently into the scallop meat; if it gives some resistance, the scallop will be cooked through properly.
School of Wok
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