Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli is a super easy Chinese seafood recipe with sweet scallops steamed right in their shell with vermicelli noodles and topped with a garlic soy scallion topping.
Why you are going to love our Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli
Sweet succulent scallops
Less than 15 minute meal
Easy cleanup as you eat it right in the scallop shell
Uses only a handful ingredients
Have you ever had a chance to experience a place through someone else’s eyes?
Maybe, you have taken your child to the same zoo you used to visit as a young child and you watch their eyes grow wide with excitement as they get close to see the elephants. Maybe you watch your child’s smile as they take their first lick of your favorite ice cream.
My eldest sister came to visit me in Hong Kong. We had a blast watching her eyes fill with excitement whilst she has been taking in all the new sights, sounds, smells and flavors of Hong Kong.
Aberdeen Wet Market in Hong Kong
It was fun to watch my sister’s mouth drop open and her eyes grow wide as she watched our fish monger take the live fish and prepare it so that we could take it home. Have you ever lived in a place so long that you start to take things for granted?
(We eat and cook with chopsticks every day. I totally forgot that this was a learned skill until I handed a pair of chopsticks to my sister. She had me on the ground rolling and laughing and if I did not give in, and hand her a fork, she would still be eating her dinner.)
Like I said, sometimes we start to take things for granted. Sometimes it is nice to step back into time to remember the first few days of your arrival and exploration of your home and bring back the magic.
Fresh Vegetables and Seafood
We walked down the isles of exotic fresh fruits and vegetables she has never seen before and then we walked past the live toads and squirming eels and this brought on a little bit of a giggle.
We then walked past all of the fresh prawns, oysters and mussels but the scallops looked really fresh and beautiful and caught my eye. I asked the fish monger lady to leave the scallops in the shell.
How to Determine if your Scallops are Fresh?
When choosing whole fresh scallops, they might have slightly gaping shells and should close tightly when tapped. If not, the shellfish might be dead and should be discarded. Fresh scallop meat should have a firm texture and a distinctly sweet odor. A sour or iodine smell indicates spoilage. The larger sea scallops are also generally creamy white in color.
I wanted to make a dish I have eaten in many sea food restaurants here in Hong Kong. I asked my dear friend, Safie, to join us for a day of cooking and eating in and for to make her delicious Scallop boats. Together we enjoyed a delicious meal of Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli as a starter, Cantonese Steamed Fish, 5 Minute Stir Fried Pea Shoots , Pantry Fried Rice and for dessert Chinese Pear Dessert soup.
Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli as an Appetizer or Main Dish
Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli are super easy and a decadent way to start your meal. Tender succulent scallops that are steamed, right in their shell, with a little bean thread vermicelli and topped off with sautéed garlic, green onion and cilantro. This dish is easy peasy and sure has the wow factor when serving it to your guests. Better yet, this whole dish from steamer to serving plater is only 10 minutes. Yes 10 little minutes!
Garlic- Nature’s Flu Buster!
This dish is delicious and the scallops are so sweet and tender. It is a very healthy steamed dish and it is gluten-free as well. Garlic helps fight viruses, fungus and bacteria while preventing heart disease and cancer and trust me this dish has a lot of garlic. As we now are entering the cold and flu season, it can’t hurt to arm yourself with a little garlic. If it does not prevent the flu, then at least the people who have the flu will want to stand farther away from you, so it has that going for it.
What is bean thread vermicelli?
It can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket. Green bean vermicelli is made of potato starch, cornstarch. mung beans but is white and translucent. It comes in a package with several little bundles. It is sometimes also called cellophane noodles. You need to put vermicelli in boiling water for about 5 minutes and then drain and rinse under cold water and then it is ready to use. It is gluten-free.
In China, this traditional dish is called “zheng shan bei” 蒸扇贝, which means steamed scallops. As you may already know, the Chinese love their food VERY fresh and it is not uncommon for these little scallops to have been swimming along just a few minutes before they ended up on your plate. I want to tribute this post to my sweet dear friend, Safie, and her dainty little hands here in this photo below.
However, if you do not have access to scallops in the shells you can still make this wonderful dish inside a lettuce cup. Just line your steamer basket with some lettuce cup leaves, place your whole scallop inside the lettuce cup and top with vermicelli and steam. When the scallops steam, they let off a little delicious juice and you want to savor those sweet delicious juices and that little lettuce cup works like a charm.
More Delicious Chinese Recipes
Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli
- 8 oz green bean vermicelli
- 6 sea scallops on the shell (cleaned)
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup garlic
1 whole bulb (peeled and minced) This is not a typo- LOTS of garlic!
- 2 green onions
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 tbsp tamari (soy) sauce
- Place dried green bean vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Steam for 5 minutes or until aldente. Strain vermicelli and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Clean the Scallops: If you are working with fresh scallops still in the shell, you will need to have the darkest side of the shell up and use a knife or prying device to remove the top shell and discard (or have your fish monger do this for you). Next, there is a dark ring around the outer section of the scallop that needs to be removed by gently grabbing one end and pull it from the shell while leaving the scallop attached to the shell. The next step is to detach and remove the scallops muscle from the shell. This is a very small white portion that should come off easily. Rinse the scallop of all sand and grit.
- If you are working with scallops that are previously frozen or already off the shell, rinse and check to any remaining tough white muscle.
- Steam the Scallops: If working with scallops in the shell, lie the scallops with the shell side down and scallop side up in the steamer basket in a single layer. Add a chopstick full of the pre-cooked bean thread vermicelli on top.
- If working with previously frozen or scallops removed from their shells, place the scallops in a lettuce cup in the steamer basket and top with a chopstick full of bean thread noodles.
- Steam for 10 minutes (depending on the size of your scallops). Mine were large sea scallops.
- Prepare the garlic soy (tamari) mixture: In a small frying pan, add canola oil and gently sauté garlic over low-medium heat until slightly translucent (do not brown or otherwise it will be bitter) add the green onions, and cilantro just until combined well and add the tamari or soy sauce just until combined and remove from heat. I use tamari sauce as I have a gluten intolerance, but feel free to substitute with soy sauce. Set aside.
- Plating of scallops: Carefully remove the scallops from the steamer. Try not to tip the scallops in the shell or in the lettuce cups as you do not want to loose any of the delicious juices. Place one scallop on each plate. Place about one heaping teaspoon of garlic soy mixture on top. Garnish as desired.
- Serve Scallop Boats with Garlic Vermicelli (Zheng Shan Bei) as an appetiser or main course for any gathering that you want something delicious warm and healthy in 10 minutes.