Scallops in Spicy Sauce

Scallops in Spicy Sauce

1/4-pound fresh snow peas
1-quart water
a pinch of baking soda
1-pound sea scallops
2-teaspoons thin soy sauce
2-teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
1-teaspoon white granulated sugar
1-teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce Ingredients;
2-tablespoons thin soy sauce
1-tablespoon white granulated sugar
2-teaspoons water
2-teaspoons oyster sauce
1-teaspoon oriental sesame oil
1/2-cup peanut or corn oil
5 or 6 dried chili peppers, cut in 1-1/2 inch cubes
5 or 6 dried orange peels, cut in 1-1/2 inch cubes
2-whole star anise
5 or 6 ginger root, cut in 1/4 inch slices
the white part of 3 scallions
4 or 5 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
1-teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1-tablespoon cold water

Step 1..Read the recipe through. Do any preparation you can ahead.

Step 2...String the snow peas. This can easily be done by grasping the protruding stem between the thumb and forefinger, and carefully unzipping the pea pod down the spine. Bring the quart of water to a boil add the pinch of baking soda and then the snow peas. Blanch them for just 10 to 15 seconds, or until their color turns to a deep green. Remove them immediately and rinse well with cold water to stop further cooking. Dry well and set aside in the refrigerator.

Step 3...Cut the sea scallops against the grain into thirds. Place them in a large bowl and add the 2 teaspoons thin soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. Mix gently and then add the cornstarch and mix again to coat. This is a marinade, Chinese marinades don't require a lot of liquid, so if the amount seems small to you, just follow the directions because it really works.

Step 4...Make the sauce by combining the 2 tablespoons thin soy sauce, sugar, water oyster sauce,and the sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 5...Heat the wok and when it smokes add the oil. Heat the oil for about 15 seconds then add the chili peppers. When they are almost black, add the orange peel and the star anise, stir over high heat until the orange peel is charred. Reduce the heat and add the ginger, scallions and garlic. Stir over low heat to extract the flavors, taking care not to burn the garlic. After a few minutes remove all the solid ingredients from the oil. This can easily be done with a slotted spoon.

Step 6...Prepare the cornstarch and water by combining them in a small bowl, mix well.

Step 7...Bring the oil in the wok back up to temperature by turning the heat up to high for about 15 or 20 seconds. Stir fry one half of the scallops for about 45 seconds or until they just begin to brown around the edges. Remove from wok and do the remaining half the same way. Turn the heat down to low.

Step 8...Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the wok. Turn the heat back up to high for 10 seconds and add the snow peas. Stir briskly for 10 more seconds and add the scallops back in, stir up well one or two times.

Step 9...Stir the sauce ingredients in the bowl you set aside in step 4 and pour down the sides of the wok with one hand while stirring with the other. Stir to mix well.

Step 10...If the sauce seems lightly thickened don't add the cornstarch mix from step 6, but if you would rather have a thicker coating, stir it in a little at a time, stirring all the while. Just add enough to get the right consistency. The ideal is a sauce coating or glaze and not a runny gravy.

Step 11...Serve immediately with hot rice.