Scallops in Yellow Curry with Spicy Grapefruit Salad


This crowd-pleasing dish from chef Andrea Reusing of sweet sea scallops with a rich curry sauce and refreshing mint-and-grapefruit salad is so flavorful, it seems like hours of work went into it. In reality, the from-scratch curry sauce is ready in under an hour and can be made in advance. Slideshow:  Fantastic Scallops Dishes 

Scallops in Yellow Curry with Spicy Grapefruit Salad
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
1 hrs



  • 2 green cardamom pods

  • 1 whole star anise pod

  • 1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • Two 1/4-inch pieces of unpeeled ginger

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • Pinch of saffron threads

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves, torn

Grapefruit Salad

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tender inner bulbs only, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 Thai chiles, minced

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 3 large Ruby Red grapefruits

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, torn


  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 24 large sea scallops (2 pounds)

  • Kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup salted roasted cashews


Make the curry

  1. In a skillet, toast the cardamom, star anise, coriander and cumin over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes; transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely, then coarsely grind.

  2. In a saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly golden, 3 minutes. Add the ground spices, turmeric, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and saffron, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the curry sauce and return it to the pot. Stir in the lime juice and basil; keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the salad

  1. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the grapefruit and mint; let stand for 15 minutes. Carefully peel the grapefruits, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over the bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Stir in the mint.

Cook the scallops

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Season the scallops with salt, add half to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until just barely cooked through, 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops.

  2. Serve the scallops with the grapefruit salad; drizzle with some of the curry sauce, garnish with the cashews and serve.

Make Ahead

The strained curry sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance; stir in the lime juice and basil just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Good Pinot Gris is at once full-bodied and vibrant—perfect with this dish.

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