Just like mom made it (kind of): Scallop Stirfry

A few weeks ago I bounced around the idea of doing occasional Friday fit tips and food things on my blog.  The fit tips will come from my physio (yes, Michael, I am still waiting for the slides!) but the food tips will come from yours truly.  Based on what I love in the kitchen.  And both will include a small dose of opinion / story telling (for good measure).

A while back, Khara Mills tweeted on Twitter (@kharamills) that she had got a wok and was seasoning it and looking forward to trying it out.  I wrote back that I *had* to share my mother’s recipe for stir fried scallops.  So here goes.

When I finally finished university (ah, gotta love the 5 year plan!) I moved to Japan, to teach English and get a bit of international experience before heading off to grad school.  I learned pretty quickly that if you wanted to eat something “like home” when in a foreign country, you would have to learn to make it.  I think that holds up anywhere, actually.  If you want good home-cooked food, you may as well learn to cook it yourself (that must be why it’s called *home cooked*).  Good quality ingredients and little time and patience in the kitchen can yield delicious results…

So in the middle of nowhere in Japan, when I wanted a spaghetti fix, I learned to make spaghetti.  Pizza without seaweed sprinkles or ginger in the tomato sauce?  I learned to make it.  And for the “just like home” things, I had my mother send to me recipes.

My mom died in 1999 from breast cancer, but I still have happy memories of her, as well as the handwritten recipe cards she sent to me when I was in Japan.  The cards are stained, folded, and loved.  Some have been lost over time (thankfully those are the ones I can remember how to make). In my “recipe folder” there are still some originals floating around.  And in that stack of original “just like mom made it” cards is the recipe for Mom’s Scallop and Asparagus Stir Fry.

Kind of like a mix of western and eastern, this stir fry uses a base of butter, soy sauce, and white wine.  The protein is scallops.  Vegetables are asparagus and shiitake mushrooms.  Served with rice (we have always had rice cookers in my family, must be because we are from Hawaii, don’t ask me how to make rice without one).  This recipe says to me, everytime, “just like mom made”.  On a nutrition note, scallops are a pretty good source of magnesium, which is great.  Magnesium, amongst other things, helps the muscles in their functioning.  I get calf cramps pretty easily (these have decreased hugely since I started taking additional magnesium supplements) so I am a huge fan of shellfish (and consequently scallops) for their magnesium properties. And asparagus has calcium – as my nutritionist said, if it has stalks it has calcium (think strong bones strong vegetables).

Like everything I cook, I change around the flavours and ingredients when I do it, depending on my mood and what my taste buds are saying, so I give to you my mom’s scallop and asparagus stir fry recipe, without too precise of ingredients.  I think mom may have originally gotten this from Bon Appetit magazine, but hey, it has been years since then so who knows the real source.  And remember, as you are cooking with wine, only cook with what you would drink (for me that would probably be a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc right now – yum Cloudy Bay!)…  Enjoy!

Mom’s Scallop and Asparagus Stir Fry



Scallops (bay or sea – for bay scallops the cooking time is much less) – Depending on the size scallops I do about 4 to 5 per person for the big ones, and about 10 per person for the small ones.
Asparagus (about 10 spears thick asparagus, 15 or so of the thin spears, snapped into pieces and make sure you don’t use the woody end)
Shiitake mushrooms (about 10 mushrooms, sliced, but take the woody stem off first)
White Wine
Soy Sauce


To stir fry…

1. Melt butter in pan.  I use about 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter as the mushrooms absorb so much.
2. Add mushrooms.
3. Sautee in butter until mushrooms begin to get soft.
4. Add about half a glass of white wine.
5. Simmer off almost half the wine.
6. Add soy sauce.  I add about two or three shakes, I guess that is about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth.
7. Add scallops – these take about 3 to 5 minutes to cook (until they go white). Stir regularly.
8. Add asparagus.  These need to be cooked until bright green with some crunch left.  Taste them to see if they are done, but normally about 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces you use)

This does not take long to cook at all.  Probably 10 minutes (15 including prep time)

Serve with rice – I prefer of mix of brown and wild rice, personally.  Afraid I can’t give you rice making instructions as I use a rice cooker!


2 responses to “Just like mom made it (kind of): Scallop Stirfry”

  1. Hi Khara!  I am so glad you changed up the recipe to suit you – I think that recipes anyway are only a source of ideas and kind of like general guidelines.  I have a good aubergine parmegianno which I tend to do in the autumn.  I will have to find post it one of these Fridays!  As far as the cake, the family liked it but the sheer amount of butter and sugar scared the bejesus out of me!  Not for the faint of heart!Bala is so awesome – super impressed!  I am hoping to volunteer at a few middle distance races next season. Early September is a few 5ks for me – the 6th is the Hyde Park Ladies Only and the 13th is La Parisienne in Paris which I am doing with other past participants of the Rallye des Gazelles – we are all wearing our rally gilet and I will once again use the occassion to raise awareness for Women for Women International.  My run is still not there yet, but it is improving.  A long slow road, but one I am having a lot of fun with!

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