This sauce goes wonderfully with any steamed fish, or can be added to a stir-fry with prawns, chicken or pork strips. I’ve even been known to make it quietly at home, adding extra spring onion and coriander, to have with boiled noodles.
Serves 4 as part of a banquet
2 Chinese cabbage leaves
4 spring onions, cut in two
300g sea scallops
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp Lao Gan Ma chilli oil
3 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 large knob ginger, julienned very finely
4 spring onions, some green left on, finely shredded
4 tbsp peanut oil
coriander leaves, good handful
1. Place cabbage leaves and spring onion batons in the bottom of a heatproof bowl that will fit into a steamer and place the scallops on top. (See tip at end if you’re using an oven instead.)
2. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil, black vinegar and caster sugar and pour this over the scallops, then top with the ginger. Put the bowl in the steamer over rapidly boiling water and steam for about 8 minutes (the time will vary, depending on the circulation of the steam). The scallops should be just barely cooked.
3. Remove the bowl from the steamer and scatter the shredded spring onion over the scallops.
4. Heat the peanut oil in a small pan until it is smoking, then douse the scallops with the oil – be careful, it will spit! (The scallops can be served straight from the steamer bowl, but if you prefer to transfer them to a platter, do this before you pour over the hot oil.) Top with the coriander and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Tip: if you’re using an oven, preheat to 180C (200C conventional), cover the bowl in foil and cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the scallops. This is a good way to cheat if you don’t have a large enough steamer.