Sichuan Soba & Scallops

The first time I made this, tinkering around with proportions, I ended up creating the fieriest dish ever to come out of my kitchen. It was good! - but upon reaching the bottom of my bowl it felt like I had interior sunburn. I've since toned it down, but it still packs a spicy wallop - you are forewarned. You can omit the dried chilis if you want to cut down even more.

 gotta get a better lighting source...
Sichuan Soba & Scallops
Makes 2 full servings with scallops + some extra noodles to put aside for lunch

*6-8 sea scallops
*Approximately 10 oz soba noodles (three bundles)
*Neutral oil

*1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (can be ordered from Penzy's, or even Amazon.com)
*A couple dried red chilis (optional)

*3 cloves garlic, minced

*1 teaspoon minced ginger
*2 scallions, white part & green parts separated and sliced
*2 tablespoons light soy sauce
*1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
*A scant 1/4 cup chili oil
*1 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste


Wash and thoroughly dry your scallops, making sure to trim the muscle off the sides if need be. Put water on to boil for the soba noodles. Lightly toast the peppercorns until fragrant in a wok and then grind in a spice grinder, reserving a pinch of fine peppercorn dust. Add a bit of oil to the wok and fry the ground peppercorns and the chilis (if using) for about 30 seconds over medium high before adding the garlic, ginger, and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry for about 30 more seconds before pouring in the combined liquid ingredients. Lower the heat to the other side of the dial and cook the mixture for about 3 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high and season the scallops with the pinch of peppercorn, and kosher salt. When the skillet is hot add a glug of oil and swirl it around. Lay the scallops in and sear on each side for about a minute and a half.

Drain the soba noodles after 5ish minutes of boiling (or according to package instructions), rinse, drain again, and then toss with the sauce. Ladle into bowls, arrange the scallops on top, and garnish with the sliced green parts of the scallions. You could also garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced fresh Thai chilis, sauteed greens, a fried egg, whatever you want. May the 'ma la' tingle be with you.

Alternately, make it with bay scallops: just saute for a shorter period, about a minute total, and toss with sauce 'n soba