Spicy Coconut Curry Scallops

Spicy Coconut Curry Scallops

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Spicy coconut curry scallops are delicious, savory, and an easy way to enjoy big sea scallops in fragrant curry sauce. Best of all? You need just a few ingredients and about 30 minutes from start to finish. They make for a ridiculously easy appetizer, or you can transform it into a full dinner with the addition of naan or basmati rice.

Spicy Coconut Curry Scallops Recipe

What curry paste should you use?

In this recipe, I originally used thiyal (or theeyal). This is a dry tamarind coconut curry paste, and I bought it from Atina Foods, which, unfortunately, is no longer available for purchase.

Patak's Hot Curry Paste

Most recently, I used Patak’s Hot Curry Paste, which was absolutely fantastic. It’s also readily available in many grocery stores or an Amazon which makes it a great choice! Their hot curry paste is what I consider to be a medium-hot. It’s really not too spicy, but if you’re sensitive to heat, I would recommend their Mild Curry Paste and add spice to suit your preferences.

There are so many curry pastes out there, so remember that whatever variety you go for will offer a unique flavor to this dish.

Scallops in curry sauce

How to make spicy coconut curry scallops:

For these scallops in curry sauce, I really let the curry paste do the heavy lifting. When I originally developed this recipe, I had not one single onion to my name, so I skipped even the most basic of aromatics. Personally, I like this more minimal dinner, but you can start your curry sauce with sliced onions first to add even deeper flavor to this dish. If you don’t have any, fear not! You can still make these delicious spicy coconut curry scallops.

You’ll start by charring the tomatoes. Heat oil in a skillet until very hot. Add the tomato quarters and cook until they begin to char. Melt butter into the pot and toss the tomatoes in the butter. Next, add the curry paste and melt it into the butter, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent it from burning. At this point, you will want to add any additional flavor to the sauce base. I wanted additional heat, so I added crushed red pepper, but you can sprinkle in a little paprika, cumin, or you can skip this part completely.

Finally, add two cups of vegetable or chicken broth and one cup of coconut milk. It only needs to simmer for 10–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat your scallops dry and remove the side muscle. Season them well with salt and pepper. Gently place them in the curry sauce and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes before turning off the heat and letting them rest for a minute or two. Serve immediately.


If you don’t have sea scallops, replace them with the smaller bay scallops. Alternatively, you can use shrimp or pieces of fish–like cod, skinless mahi mahi, or even swordfish–and just modify the cooking time as needed. You could also make this with thinly sliced chicken, but you’ll need to cook it a bit longer in the sauce.

If you really like seafood, you could even do a mixed seafood version of this. A combination of shrimp, clams, squid, and mussels would be fantastic!

Curry Scallops

All told, it’s about 30 minutes total and you’ll have an incredible dish on the table in no time! I love serving the scallops with warm naan, but basmati rice is always a good choice.

Looking for more seafood recipes? Check my archives!

If you made this recipe, please rate the recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how you liked it! If you take a picture of it, please tag me on Instagram so I can feature you in my feed!

Spicy Coconut Curry Scallops Recipe

Spicy Coconut Curry Scallops

While you may not see scallops in curry sauce all that often, believe me, these spicy coconut curry scallops are delicious!
4.08 from 112 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 16 dry sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ loosely packed cilantro, minced
  • Red pepper flakes, optional, for garnish
  • 4 pieces store-bought naan, toasted


Char the tomatoes:

  • Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium-high. Once very hot and shimmering, add the tomatoes, cut-side down, and cook without moving for 3-5 minutes. Once charred, flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brown the curry paste:

  • Melt the butter into the pot and add the coconut paste. Lightly mash it with the back of your spoon and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Simmer the sauce:

  • Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Taste and season to your preferences. Reduce heat to medium and add the coconut milk.
  • Allow to bubble on medium heat for 10 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to reduce too much or to boil too hard.

Cook the scallops:

  • While the sauce simmers, pat the scallops dry and remove the side muscle. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Gently place the scallops in the broth in an even layer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5–6 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the scallops in the pot with the lid on for 1–2 minutes.
  • Remove the lid. If the scallops are opaque, serve immediately. If they need to cook a little longer, cover again and allow the residual heat from the broth to cook them. Do not overcook them!

To serve:

  • Ladle the coconut curry broth and charred tomatoes into shallow bowls and arrange 4 scallops in each bowl. Garnish with minced cilantro, red pepper flakes. Serve with cooked warm naan or cooked basmati rice, if desired. Enjoy!
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