Sizzling Sichuan Scallops

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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1 pound large scallops -- cut into 1-in pieces
-----scallop marinade-----
1 tablespoon dry vermouth
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
-----sauce mixture-----
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine -- =or=- dry sherry
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons peanut or corn oil -- (or more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh peeled ginger -- minced
2 teaspoons fresh peeled garlic -- minced
2 medium green onions -- chopped
2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
1 medium cucumber -- peeled into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preparation / Directions:

Pat dry the scallops. In a bowl, toss scallops with the marinade; set aside for 30 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and cornstarch; set aside. Preheat the wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and half the salt. Add dry scallops to the hot oil, stir-fry for about 1 minute. When the scallops begin to feel firm to the touch, remove from the wok; set aside. Reheat the wok. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the ginger, garlic, remaining salt, green onions, and chili paste; cook gently for 15 seconds. Turn heat to high; toss in cucumbers. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture and stir quickly to thicken. Return the scallops to the wok, add the vinegar and sesame oil; quickly toss for a few seconds to reheat. Place the cast iron platter on a burner over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes or place in a very hot oven. Sprinkle a few drops of water to test the heat. It should bubble and sizzle. Put a heatproof trivet on the dining table. Carefully place the hot sizzling platter on top of the trivet. As soon as the scallops are finished, transfer the scallops to a plate and quickly pour the mixture onto the hot platter and listen to it sizzle. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings as the main entree or up to 8 as part of a multi-course Chinese menu. JOYCE JUE - PRODIGY GUEST CHEFS COOKBOOK

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