Tempura scallops with Japanese dipping sauce

Photographer: Emma
4 as an apetizer

There is something sexy about scallops; they are the Johnny Depp of the ocean.   Although not really when they are raw; here is my outdoor eating experience with raw scallops.

On a friend’s boat a couple of years ago, she and her Dad insisted that I eat a raw scallop, seconds after gathering their bounty from the ocean’s floor.  It was almost like an initiation, I was being accepted into their hunter-gatherer club so I eagerly accepted.  I was stoked to be feeling so “at one with nature” until the thing was in my mouth, at which point I realised the harsh reality of eating what resembled cold chicken liver. All eyes on me, I had to gulp the thing down, making “mmmmm” sounds and smiling.  I don’t know if they bought my performance, I’m no actor.  I hoped they thought the tears in my eyes were joy but I suspect they saw it for what it was – and probably had a good old laugh about it.   

Just to clear things up, this experience has never put me off cooked scallops. 

Here is one way to cook them, tomorrow I will post another way in the form of “Seared scallops with chilli and parsley vinegar, fried onion rings and baby cos”.


500g scallops
1 egg, beaten
½ cup plain flour
½ cup cornflour
1 cup soda water (icy)

Dipping sauce
1/3 cup Dashi (Japanese fish stock)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp white sugar
500mL of cooking oil for frying

Coriander to garnish


1. To make the dipping sauce, mix all ingredients together and set aside.
2. To make the tempura, beat the egg then whisk in the flours and soda water (alternate until all is combined to a smooth batter).
3. Dry scallops between paper towels or a clean tea towel.
4. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Once the oil is hot (I add a drop of the tempura batter to the oil to see if it bubbles), coat the scallops in batter and deep fry them for 2-3 minutes.

Note: if the oil is smoking, it’s too hot. You want it at a medium to hot temperature so when the scallops in batter are dropped in, they sizzle and float to the top.
Just deep fry a couple at a time. Drop them into the batter with tongs, they should rise to the top (give them a scrape off the bottom of the pot if they won’t budge). Then when they are floating on the top of the oil you can turn them to achieve an even golden colour.

5. Take the scallops out of the oil and lay them straight on paper towels to drain the oil.
6. Serve with dipping sauce and coriander.