Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Wok Wednesdays: Velvet Orange Scallops
Happy New Year 2014!! It is also the Year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese New Year is all about tradition, superstition, and symbolism. An appropriate recipe to make in the beginning of the new year. Both scallops and oranges (gold) are both symbolic of prosperity....I say, double fortune in 2014!
2014 is also a year of good health for our family. Since the cookbook, Stir-Fry to the Sky's Edge, arrived on my doorstep in late November, 2013, I have stir-fried my way into the new year, embracing a life style of healthy living. My kids are enjoying a variety of vegetables in these quick meals. My husband easily lost five pounds just by eating stir-fries for lunch and/or dinner in the last two months. Both vegetable bins in the fridge are full of carrots, bok choy, celery, red peppers, bunches of scallions and ginger roots. Quite unheard of in our kitchen. In the past, I would end up throwing away unused, soggy vegetables. Consequently, I rarely bought much vegetables other than the usual salad items.
Not only has this cookbook demystify the unusual ingredients in the local Asian grocery and bring a variety of vegetables to the dinner table, but it has made me prepare favorite foods in the most unusual ways.
Velveting scallops is a new technique for me. I love scallops and the only way I have prepared them in the past is to quickly sear them in a hot skillet with butter, and serve them in a bed of greens. In this recipe, velveting provides the silkiness and smooth texture in scallops by marinating them in a mixture of cornstarch, egg whites, and rice wine. Placing the scallops uncovered in the fridge will remove the excess moisture in their defrosted state and keep them at a safe temperature.
The main ingredients in this recipe are few and simple. Scallops are very delicate in touch and with a flavor of sweetness; therefore, combinations are kept to a minimal. Hints of heat from the pepper flakes blend nicely with the delicate flavors of ginger/garlic, along with the light flavors of rice vinegar, rice wine and soy sauce.