GIF Tutorial: How to Sear Scallops

Plus, a delicious Indian recipe courtesy of the seafood specialists at Benares.

  • Benares cook Dominic Gomes is a scallop maestro. Click through the gallery to see how he does it...
  • You probably won't get sea scallops that are still in the shell, since almost all grocery stores and fish shops remove the meat for you. But if you, this is what it will look like—just stick a paring knife into the shell and twist to open it up.
  • To remove the meat, simply cut it away from the skin with a paring knife. If you buy scallops at a store where they are pre-packed, follow
  • Whether your scallops are out of the shell or packaged, you should give them a good wash with cold water. Pat them dry afterwards to avoid getting any water in the pan when you begin the sear.
  • Season your scallops as you please. The recipe for Tawa Scallops, posted at the bottom of the page, includes lemon juice, olive oil, tamarind, and chili powder.
  • Get your pan going over high head and coat with olive oil.
  • Place the scallops in the middle of the pan and cook for about two minutes.
  • When you flip the scallops, the color on the cooked side should be golden brown, and it should break away easily from the pan.
  • Once they're flipped, cook for another two minutes on the other side.
  • Now you've got a nice sear on both sides, turn down the burner to low heat and let the interior of the scallops slowly cook while you do any final preparations on your sauce (or whatever else you're serving with the scallops).
  • For the Tawa Scallops, you'll prepare your chutney sauce in a separate pan. See below for recipe and instructions.
  • Yep, these babies are ready to go.
  • Ladle some chutney onto a plate, then place the scallops on top.
  • Boom.
  • Bon appetit.

Photo and GIFs by Liz Barclay (@liz_barclay)

Welcome back to the First We Feast GIF Tutorial series, where we ask restaurant cooks and pro bartenders to show us how step up our technique when cooking and making drinks at home.

While some mollusks, like oysters, can be a bit of a hassle to prepare at home, scallops are super easy. They’re also meaty and satisfying, which is what you want out of home-cooked seafood—save the dainty stuff for the raw bar.

There are countless ways to prepare scallops—the good ones are pretty damn tasty raw—but the most tried-and-true method is to give them a nice sear so that they are caramelized on the outside and still creamy on the inside. To learn how to do it properly, we dropped by the kitchen at NYC’s Benares (, an excellent Indian restaurant where one of the menu highlights—Tawa Scallops, dressed up with tomatillo and ginger—hinges on perfectly seared mollusks.

Click through the gallery above to see Benares cook Dominic Gomes demonstrate each step of the process. You can skip the seasoning and sauce if you want to make something different—the searing technique is universal and can form the basis of any number of pan-seared scallop recipes you find online. But Gomes also breaks down the other elements of Tawa Scallops—should you want to make them at home (they’re delicious), just follow the instructions below.




How to Make Tawa Scallops

with mango & tomato relish
Serves 3


For the chutney:

  • 8 oz tomatillos, chopped
  • 5-6 green chilies (or 2 jalapeños)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 oz ginger
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 2 oz cilantro
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

For the scallops:

  • 12 jumbo scallops
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

For the mango & tomato relish:

  • 1 mango (green), peeled, cleaned and diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp mango puree
  • 1 tbsp cumin, roasted and coarsely ground
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch of rock salt, or regular salt

Cooking instructions:

For the chutney: Heat oil in a pan.  Add all ingredients and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes until everything is sautéed.  Put in blender and coarsely grind for a chunky paste.  Check seasoning and add lemon juice.

For the scallops: Rub the scallops with turmeric powder, chili powder, black pepper, and salt.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.  When the pan is hot, cook the scallops for approximately 2 minutes on each side, so they develop a nice sear.

For the mango & tomato relish: Chop all ingredients and stir together.

To plate: Place chutney on your serving dish and then add scallops and garnish with the mango & tomato relish.


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