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Curried Scallop Cakes

Curried Scallop Cakes

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  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh sea scallops, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*

Recipe Preparation

  • Mix first 9 ingredients and 1 1/2 cups panko in large bowl to blend. Cover mixture and refrigerate 1 hour.

  • Place remaining 2 cups panko on large plate. Form scallop mixture into balls, using 1 heaping tablespoon for each. Coat in panko, flattening slightly.

  • Heat enough vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat to come 1/4 inch up sides of pan. Working in batches, sauté scallop cakes until golden and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer scallop cakes to paper towels to drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat on baking sheet in 350°F oven 8 minutes.) Transfer scallop cakes to platter.

Reviews Section

Scallop Cakes

I made a Prime Rib for Christmas Eve and invited a few friends in, but one of our friends is a Pescatarian, fancy word for a vegetarian who eats seafood. Most of us are pretty much omnivourous, if not downright Carnivorous, but I really couldn't feed Robin meat, she wouldn't have eaten it anyway. So I decided to make her a Crab Cake, which I happen to know she likes. But couldn't find any nice fresh crab meat, and I was running out of time, so I picked up a package of frozen Scallops and proceeded to make her some Scallop Cakes. The recipe I used made four good sized cakes, and Robin did get to eat one of them, but the others, well, let me just say, that all the Carnivores, or at least some of them, proceeded to taste a bit of the other Scallop cakes as well. And everyone pronounced them quite good.

So that means I get to share the how to's here, as well as what I learned you should not do when making something like this.

To begin with the recipe called for two pounds of Scallops, frozen being fine, however I just used a one pound package. Well, I only 'had' to make enough for one person, so decided to cut down the recipe. And it did work, but I learned that I should have let the scallops defrost a little longer, I chopped them while they were still a little on frozen side, and that was a mistake. They release a lot of liquid. Yup, and that meant I had to add some bread crumbs to keep them from being too loose. Which they still were, but not as bad. But the flavour, it was right on. Yummy in other words. I did cook up a teeny one for myself to check beforehand and make sure that it would be edible, and I really liked it.

I got the original recipe from here, but then did my own riff on it, cause I could. And I discovered that something had been eating my chive plant over the week or so, so I had to substitute some finely minced green onion for the chives.

Scallop cakes

I bought some little bay scallops and am thinking of making cakes, ala crab cakes or fish patties. I was going to make a course chop in the cuisinart, then blend them with a little egg, maybe mayo, scallions, and some panko, then saute. Will this work? Do you think different seasonings will complement the scallops better? Thanks!

It'll work, but be careful with the Cuisinart. They'll shred up easily. I've used them before as a binder for crab fritters by blending them fully into a sort of scallop cream. If you have any crab or shrimp, stir them in for texture.

I guess I'd recommend that you blend half the scallops fully in the Cuisinart with the eggs and mayo. Then, coarsely chop the rest of the scallops and stir them in. A little Old Bay or cajun seasoning would be nice here, and don't forget your lemon!

Clicking the will recommend this comment to others.

Honestly, unless you have quite a lot, I'd just rough chop them by hand. If they are totally pureed, they become less identifiable as scallops, which I am guessing defeats the purpose. Seasoning should be very delicate. Tangerine is actually very good with scallops, if you have some you can juice them then reduce the juice to a syrup and add to a little bit of mayo or hollandaise, or just drizzle over at serving time.

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Scallops have such a mild flavor, I often see them mixed with other fish or shelfish in a cake. If you do just the scallops, I've seen recipes that add Indian curry, or asian flavors. Cilantro would go great with either. Without some strong seasoning 'pop', they might be disappointingly bland.

There's a nice looking recipe on epicurious for curried scallop cakes. They recommend cutting scallops in a 1/4 inch dice.

If these were the big diver scallops than I wouldn't make them into cakes. However the smaller bay scallops, yes. I would make them in the same direction you were going. Making Chinese scallop cakes and bind them with fresh bread crumbs and egg and a little white pepper.Using scallions, sherry, mayonaise with a little hot chili paste, chopped cilantro, saute fresh garlic and grated ginger (not too much) mix that in with the scallops, and then bread them on the outside with panko crumbs. Serve with a plum sauce.
I think this would make a great starter.

I made up a recipe that I used for guests and it was a real hit. Mild tasting yet very nice appetizers.

½ lb fresh bay scallops, drained and chopped (Don’t over chop the scallops)
2 small green onions FINELY chopped or 1 large green onion
½ cup mild or medium Canadian cheddar shredded, or I suppose American if you are in the US
¼ cup flour
¾ cup flour for breading
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs or add as much as is needed to completely bread the cakes
Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten separately (one for the filling mixture, the other for breading)
Safflower oil (best because smoke point is 450 degrees)—use enough to go approximately ¼ inch up the bottom of the pan

In a bowl, combine scallops, green onions and cheese. Sprinkle with ¼ cup flour and add 1 beaten egg. Salt and Pepper to taste and refrigerate for several minutes.

After several minutes in the fridge, shape scallop mixture into 8 cakes. Coat each cake with flour, then egg dip, then Panko bread crumbs. Shape into a cake suitable for deep frying. Chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.

Add oil to pan and heat on medium until very hot. Test with bread crumbs.
Test one cake. If it cooks too quickly turn heat down a few notches. Cook scallop cakes for about 1 ½ minutes each side until golden. Remove to platter lined with paper towels to absorb any oil.

Place scallop cakes in fridge till ready to reheat in oven. Place on a tray at 350º F for 8 minutes and serve immediately.

In a small bowl stir together:

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 TBSP fresh flat leaf parsley chopped fine
2 tsp finely chopped lemon peel
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp coarsely crushed black pepper

Cover and chill until serving time
Place servings in a small lobster butter bowls

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Curried Seafood Cakes with Fresh Ginger Aioli

I have a passion for seafood cakes of any variety: Dungeness crab cakes, shrimp cakes, fresh or smoked salmon cakes, and varieties yet untried. They are easy to make, but many a fine cook errs by adding too much binder. You want to taste the seafood and the seasoning, not what is holding them together–bread crumbs typically.

A trick I learned early on when trying to create a seafood cake with only a small amount of binder that would still hold together reasonably well, is to use the gelatinous binding power of the seafood itself where possible. Raw prawns, scallops and salmon all have this gelatinous property. It is maximized when the seafood is pureed.

However, because we still want tantalizing chunks of seafood in our cakes and because it only takes a small amount of protein binder to ensure a cake that will hold together, I suggest pureeing only 1/3 of the seafood and then chopping the rest. You can puree as little as ¼ of the seafood if you prefer. The cakes will still hold together.

Note The more of the seafood that you puree, the denser your cake will be (unless you also add a lot of cream and then it becomes a mousse). So easy does it.

Most seafood cakes I have sampled at restaurants are, well, uninspired. I understand the dilemma. You don’t want to overpower the flavor of the seafood. But if the auxiliary flavors are in harmony with the chosen seafood, it can be surprising how bold those accompanying notes can be, while still allowing the flavor of the seafood to hold center stage. Dungeness Crab in Black Bean Sauce comes to mind. How can that possibly work? My mind tells me the combination should obliterate the crab and yet my palate informs me the dish is spectacular.

These seafood cakes are NOT boring. This flavor composition creates a small explosion on the palate, and you will find it difficult to eat only one or two, even though they are quite rich.

Much to my delight, since I was feeding only myself and MauiJim, the cakes held up very well in the refrigerator even after sautéing. On the second and even the third night, I simply heated a few gently in the microwave before serving. The flavor actually improved and the coating suffered only marginally.

Curried Seafood Cakes with Fresh Ginger Aioli

You can make these delectable, succulent seafood cakes in first course size or appetizer size. If you want to serve them as a main course, serve two of the larger cakes to each diner. The curry and lime flavor here is particularly wonderful with prawns.

Purchasing Note For the seafood, purchase about ¼ pound additional to allow for removal of shells, skin, and so on. You need one usable pound of whichever seafood you choose.

Seafood: Choose One Only
1 pound, shelled, deveined raw prawns, 2/3 coarsely chopped, 1/3 pureed in processor
1 pound fresh cooked crabmeat, cartilage removed
1 pound skinned, fatty dark flesh removed, boned, fresh salmon, 2/3 coarsely chopped, 1/3 pureed in processor
¾ pound fresh salmon, prepared as described above, combined with ¼ pound cold-smoked (Nova-style) salmon, finely chopped in a processor
1 pound trimmed (small side muscles removed) scallops, 2/3 coarsely chopped, 1/3 pureed in processor

Curry-Lime Seasoning
1½ tablespoons best-quality curry powder (preferably Madras brand)
finely grated zest of 1 large lime
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard (preferably Coleman brand)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne (this is mildly hot, increase by ¼ teaspoon if you prefer more heat)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup minced onion
½ cup minced celery
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon pressed or finely minced garlic

¼ cup best-quality mayonnaise (preferably homemade or Best Foods brand)
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup dry bread crumbs (Japanese Panko work well here)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup very fine, dry bread crumbs (Japanese Panko work well here)
vegetable oil, for sautéing

Fresh Ginger Aioli (recipe below)
slices of fresh lime

  1. Clean and prepare your choice of seafood as described above.
  2. To prepare Curry-Lime Seasoning, in a small bowl combine curry powder, cumin, dry mustard, cayenne, and cardamom. Reserve.
  3. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions over low heat until barely tender but not browned.
  4. Add celery, fresh ginger, and garlic, and continue cooking over low heat onions and celery are tender.
  5. Stir in Curry-Lime Seasoning and continue cooking for a few minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.
  7. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the onion mixture, seafood, and bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm the mixture.
  9. Shape the seafood cakes into 12 (3 tablespoons each) or 16 (2 tablespoons each) disks, each about ¾-inch thick. Dredge the cakes in dry bread crumbs, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and refrigerate until ready to sauté and serve.
  10. In a large skillet, using medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil at a depth of ½-inch until a drop of water sizzles briskly when sprinkled into the oil.
  11. Put as many seafood cakes as will fit comfortably in the pan and sauté until nicely browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  12. Remove the cooked cakes to a paper towel-lined baking tray, keep warm in a 200º oven, and continue cooking the remainder of the cakes.
  13. Remove the seafood cakes to individual plates or to a platter, garnish with Fresh Ginger Aioli and slices of fresh lime, and serve.

Makes 12-16 cakes, depending on whether 2-tablespoon or 3-tablespoon size.

Fresh Ginger Aioli

1 cup best-quality mayonnaise (preferably homemade or Best Foods brand)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon pressed or finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
fine sea salt, to taste

LunaCafe’s Garam Masala

Garam Masala, the basic spice blend of Northern India, is a blend of hot or warm spices. The heat refers not only to the spicy hot flavor but also to the effect these spices generate in one’s body. This particular Garam Masala, my own special blend, is milder tasting that most curry powders. Coriander and cumin dominate the flavor here.

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1½-inch length cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  1. Heat a heavy sauté pan and add all of the spices. Dry roast the spices over medium-high heat, stirring and turning constantly, until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a dish to cool
  3. Using a spice grinder, grind the spices to a powder.
  4. Store airtight in a cool dry location for up to three months.

About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, creator of the LunaCafe blog, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and former director of the Northwest Culinary Academy.


Slice each scallop into three discs, put on a plate, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge while the sauce is being prepared. Scrub the deeper part of each scallop shell well with hot water and place on a rack over a baking tray, and grease the inside with butter. If you don’t have scallop shells available, use shallow gratin dishes instead. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

To make the sauce, pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the bay leaf and onion. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.

Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan and stir in the flour and mustard powder. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually start adding the infused milk, stirring well between each addition. When all the milk is added, stir in the wine, cream and cheese and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth. Use a silicone whisk to stir the sauce if it has any lumps appearing.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the scallops and chives and season to taste. Divide the crabmeat between the buttered shells or gratin dishes. Spoon the scallop mixture evenly into the prepared shells, making sure each one gets three slices of scallop.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the grated cheese and parsley, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the scallop mixture. Bake in the hot oven for 18-20 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling. (The scallops should have turned opaque, but remain sweet and tender.)

Serve the scallops and crab Mornay with a crisp green salad and a glass of chilled white wine.

What an easy way to cook scallops! The Hearts of Palm Sauce really added to the taste of this recipe. I can't wait to serve it to my seafood loving friends. This is a very tasty dish to serve on a special occasion. The Test Kitchen

Melt the butter in a small butter warmer, small saucepan, or you could always nuke it in the microwave.

Chef's Note: We all use the microwave for a variety of purposes however, when you use it to melt butter, slow is the way to go. a low setting for about 3 minutes.

Pour the melted butter into a casserole dish something around two quarts is perfect.

Chef's Note: Since you will be using this dish for presentation, if you have something nice. use it.

Take the breadcrumbs, onion powder, paprika, oregano, minced garlic and parmesan cheese, and combine in a small mixing bowl.

Chef's Note: You best tools for doing this are your hands. that way you can break up any lumps.

How to Tell if a Scallop is Fresh

Look: A good scallop will be cream colored or light beige. Scallops that are tinged with pink are too old and should be avoided.

Moisture: Good scallops will be relatively dry. Scallops sitting in liquid are past their prime. Avoid Scallops that are sitting in a milky liquid.

Smell: Fresh scallops have a slightly sweet aroma. Bad scallops smell like sulfur or ammonia.

Touch: A fresh scallop will be firm to the touch. Scallops too old to eat are soft and slimy.

Fragrant Sea Scallop Cakes From 'One Good Dish'

David Tanis often riffs on international classics in his cookbooks, and the recipes in his new cookbook, One Good Dish, are no exception. His sea scallop cakes, inspired by Thai fish cakes, borrow flavors from Southeast Asia without worrying too much about authenticity. Tanis uses scallops for lightness (and, I assume, their ability to whip into a mousse-like texture with ease), blending them with a potent herbal mix of cilantro, scallion, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Instead of deep frying the cakes, he gently fries them in coconut oil to add a hint of sweetness. Topping off the dish is a nutty dipping sauce—rich, sweet, and sour, it's the perfect finish to the scallop cakes.

Why I picked this recipe: It was hard to pass up the prospect of light, fragrant seafood cakes.

What worked: While I loved the light, herby scallop cakes, the real winner here is the nutty and sweet dipping sauce.

What didn't: I needed to cook the cakes over much lower heat (medium-low) in order to cook them through without burning them. Pay careful attention to the heat on your stove, and consider cooking a test cake before frying a whole batch.

Suggested tweaks: You could use an equivalent amount of white-fleshed fish like cod here instead of the scallops. If your cast iron skillet isn't well-seasoned, you'll want to use a non-stick skillet to cook the cakes. I served these with lettuce cups, a few lime wedges, and chopped herbs.

Reprinted with permission from One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal by David Tanis. Copyright 2013. Published by Artisan Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Curried Scallop Cakes - Recipes

This is a West Coast twist on an East Coast roadside stand classic, the Lobster Roll. I predict it will soon sweep though miserly sculleries everywhere -- for few can resist a culinary creation like this: the 99 Cent Chef's cool, creamy, and deliciously decadent Scallop Roll.

I've never had the pleasure of trying a Lobster Roll, but if I ever find myself driving through New England, it is on the top of my culinary to-do list. The Lobster Roll started out as chopped cooked lobster meat mixed with butter on bread, but since the 1970's, the lobster chunks have been mixed with mayo and served cold on a top-spit hot dog bun lightly toasted in butter. Some modern versions still mix steamed chopped lobster with butter, but with mayo on the side.

I always find 4 ounce frozen packages of scallops at the local Alberstons grocery chain, ten for ten dollars (you are allowed to buy one package at a time), and sometimes at my local 99c Only Stores. It's a small amount of seafood but enough for a couple of Scallop Rolls.

You can add crunch to the Scallop Salad by adding fine chopped celery, seeded cucumber, green scallions or regular onion -- this also helps stretch it out for an extra serving. In my Scallop Roll photos I used peeled and chopped seeded cucumber, which works well because it won't overwhelm the mild, sweet scallops.

Since the original Lobster Roll was made with butter, I am keeping my recipe old school by sauteing the bay scallops in butter and riffing on the now typical way by mixing the cooked scallops with mayo. It's a rich and complex combination. This recipe tastes best with real butter and real mayonaise -- save the light mayo and butter substitute for when you are feeding a horde of inebriated, palate challenged party guests, or for dieting days.

And since "top-loader" buns (split along the top of the bun) are not to be found on the West Coast, I used regular hot dog buns. You can use fresh bakery buns or small dinner rolls, as well.

Balmy summer days are right around the corner, so now is the time to stock up on 4 oz. frozen packages of scallops, and perfect The 99 Cent Chef's Scallop Roll for your first summer patio party!

  • 1 defrosted 4 ounce package of small scallops *
  • 2 tablespoons of real mayonnaise - let's get decadent. But if you must, you can use your favorite light mayo.
  • 2 pats of butter - or favorite low-cal substitute. One pat for sauteing scallops, and one for toasting the hot dog buns.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional additions: a couple of tablespoons of fine chopped celery, green scallions or regular onion. A sprinkle of a favorite herb, seafood spice, or a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat. I just used peeled and seeded cucumber for this version.
  • You can also add some roughly chopped or hand-shredded lettuce.

Poor out the liquid from cooked and cooling scallops. This sweet buttery broth can be saved and reheated later to coat the inside of the roll for a "dipped" Scallop Roll.

In a medium sized bowl add mayo * and about 2 tablespoons of peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber. Add drained scallops and mix well - season to taste. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I've also had it right away, the mayo is cold enough for me.

* Some prefer less mayo, so you can start with a tablespoon, then add a little at a time to the mixed Scallop Salad for desired creaminess.

When Scallop Salad is cold enough it's time to toast the hot dog buns. Add pat of butter to skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and coat both sides of buns. They need a slight toasting for a couple of minutes on each side. Done when lightly browned.

To serve, open the pre-split bun and scoop in the chilled Scallop Salad.

* Another delicious spin is to use a small package of bay shrimp (which I often find for the same prices and locations), for a Shrimp Roll. Since bay shrimp are usually cooked, just defrost, drain and add to mayo mixture. If they are raw then follow the sauteing directions from above.

Keralan scallop molee

Look at the scallops to find a little white bit at the side &ndash this becomes tough when cooked, so cut it off (watch our how to prepare scallops video to find out more). If you have small queen scallops, you probably won&rsquot need to halve them, but if you have large ones, slice them in half horizontally.

Heat the oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the onion, chillies, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Cook for 12 mins or until the onion is golden and the ginger no longer tastes &lsquoraw&rsquo. Add the turmeric, cook for 1 min, then add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, season and add the tomatoes. Cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is slightly thicker and reduced. (If you want to cook this in advance &ndash and the base does taste better after a day in the fridge &ndash stop now, cool and chill. When reheating, bring it to just under the boil before you add the scallops.)

Add the scallops (and prawns or fish, if using) and cook gently for 5 mins (longer if you&rsquore using meaty chunks of fish fillet) or until cooked through. Add lime or lemon juice to taste and season well. Scatter with coriander and serve with rice.


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