Recipe by Angus An, Maenam Restaurant

Serves 4

Buy scallops live and shuck them yourself  to ensure utmost freshness. But if live scallops are unavailable, IQF (individually quick frozen) scallops from Hokkaido or Maine are also good.


Seafood Nahm Jim

¼ cup sliced galangal

5 green Thai bird’s eye chilies

2 red Thai bird’s eye chilies

8 cloves garlic

¼ cup chopped coriander root

Pinch of kosher salt

2 red chili peppers, deseeded

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup fish sauce

Zest and juice of 1 makrut lime

Fried Shallots

½ cup canola oil

2 tbsp thinly sliced shallots,
about 1/16 inch thick


4 to 8 large live bay or IQF scallops, with shells

2 to 4 tbsp seafood nahm jim

2 tbsp finely sliced lemongrass, to garnish

2 tbsp finely sliced fresh long-leaf coriander, to garnish

1 tbsp finely julienned makrut lime leaves, to garnish

Few sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish

2 to 4 tbsp cured salmon roe or sustainable caviar, to garnish (optional)

Edible flowers, to garnish (optional)

Fried shallots, to garnish

For Seafood Nahm Jim: Place the hardest ingredients in the mortar first. Add a pinch of salt, pound and grind until ingredients are broken down. Slice the deseeded chili pepper flesh. Add to mortar and continue to pound. Add sugar. Grind into the mixture to develop a find paste. Stir in the liquids and mix with paste until well incorporated. Let the dressing sit for 5 minutes before tasting and adjust to taste. Set aside.

For Fried Shallots: In a medium-sized pot, preheat the oil to about 330°F. Fry the shallots for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of the cooking time, turn them over a few times and remove them from the oil when they’re light golden brown. Use two forks to spread them out evenly to cool on a wire rack lined with paper towel. This ensures that the shallots cool off and crisp up more quickly. Set aside.

Assembly: Clean the scallop shells with a brush to remove all sand and dirt. The shells
will be used as presentation and serving pieces. Using a flexible palette knife, pry open the two shells slightly, wide enough to stick in your thumb. The tension from the shells might feel uncomfortable, but it will be brief. Insert the palette knife and scrape the inside of the top flat shell until you separate the flesh from the shell. Open the flat top completely and flex the palette knife while scraping the bottom bowl-shaped shell. Once the flesh is completely dislodged from the shell, set it aside in a bowl on ice. Scrape the inside of the shells clean and wash them thoroughly; reserve for serving.

To trim the scallop meat, remove the outer mantle and the liver (black piece), keeping the flesh (muscle) and the roe (orange piece). For this recipe, only the muscle is needed;
however, the roe is a tasty piece to incorporate into the ceviche should you feel adventurous. Slice each scallop into four wedges. Place the scallop wedges back onto the shells and dress each with about ½ tablespoon nahm jim.

Garnish with lemongrass, long-leaf coriander, makrut lime leaves and coriander sprigs, and optional cured salmon roe and edible flowers. Sprinkle the fried shallots on last for texture. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from Maenam by Angus An.
Copyright © 2020 Angus An.
Photography by Darren Cheung.
Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher.
All rights reserved