Scallops with Indian-spiced cauliflower

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4
Scallops with Indian-spiced cauliflower
(Los Angeles Times)

Almond-tamarind sauce


Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chile, cumin, coriander, pepper, salt to taste and garam masala. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, almond paste, coconut milk and stock. Simmer 10 minutes. Place in a blender; blend until smooth. Strain, then adjust the salt.



Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Cover; cook over medium-low heat until tender, 15 minutes. Remove the lid; cook until the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mint and cilantro.



Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the oil. When it smokes, add the scallops (cook in 2 batches). When browned on the bottom, turn and cook until all sides are browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total, stirring to keep them from sticking. Add the butter and allow to foam. Baste the scallops with the butter until they are cooked, 30 seconds.


Divide the cauliflower among 4 plates. Arrange the scallops around it. Spoon 2 tablespoons of almond-tamarind sauce on and around the scallops; dust lightly with the garam masala. Garnish with cilantro or basil.

Tamarind paste is sold at Asian markets. To clarify butter, melt 1 stick over low heat. Spoon off foam, then pour off clarified butter. Use a mortar and pestle to crack the cumin and coriander.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
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