Seared Sea Scallops With An Orange Ponzu Reduction

Asian food is some of the most popular in the world, no matter where you might live. One of the food trends now is Asian fusion cuisine. I am always amazed with the winning meals that restaurants create using a popular local dish from their area and then give it a twist using a typical Asian ingredient.

There are many of these dishes that I would love to prepare at home.  What has stopped me is that the ingredients can be difficult to find… some only available at an Asian specialty store. I’m always browsing the aisles at my local market for new ingredients and I found two items, ponzu sauce and Black Japonica rice that inspired my meal of Seared Sea Scallops with an Orange Ponzu Reduction. 

Seared Sea Scallops With An Orange Ponzu Reduction

It is a simple dish that has Asian flavors and all the ingredients were available at my local market. Instead of frying or wrapping sea scallops in bacon which is so popular here in New England, I created a Japanese inspired  sweet and savory orange ponzu sauce to top the tender scallops.

Orange Ponzu Reduction

  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. ponzu sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine

Bring the orange juice, ponzu sauce, lime juice, red chili flakes and ginger to a boil in a pan, lower the heat and reduce down to half. Mix the cornstarch with the white wine and stir to blend. Add to the reduction and cook until thickened.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops

To sear sea scallops, dry well and season with salt and pepper. Coat a nonstick skillet with peanut oil and heat until very hot. Add the scallops to the pan (do not crowd) and cook about 2 minutes until the scallops have a nice brown crust. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes or so until they have a nice brown crust. They should be almost firm to the touch and be a little translucent in the center. Do not over cook or they will be tough. 

Prepare the sauce and any side dishes that will be served with this meal before you sear your scallops. When the scallops are done, drizzle with some of the orange ponzu sauce and sprinkle with a little extra red chili if desired.

Along side my sea scallops, I served Black Japonica rice which is a blend of Chinese black short grain rice (also known as Emperor’s rice) and a medium grain mahogany rice. It has a nice nutty, subtle sweetness with a chewy texture that went well with the soft, sweet and savory scallops. I also served steamed snow peas and carrots tossed in sesame oil.

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133 thoughts on “Seared Sea Scallops With An Orange Ponzu Reduction

  1. I love scallops any way you want to prepare them but this looks like a breath of fresh air. Your styling is just beautiful. I’m going to have to try this with the beautiful scallops I have in the freezer.

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment. I think you will enjoy your scallops prepared this way. Make sure they are nice and dry to get a nice crust.

  2. I love scallops and this looks like a fun way to prepare them. My kids are huge fans of Asian foods and would love this one too. 🙂

    1. Hi Tanya, I know that we all come across recipes that we just can’t get the ingredients to prepare the dish. It happens to me a lot since I live in a rural area. I appreciate your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Betsy, I do try to cook meals that our healthy. This is a recipe that is delicious but that you don’t feel guilty eating.

    1. Hi Smidge, This will definitely be a repeat meal at our house. I’m glad you like the recipe and thank you for such a nice compliment.

  3. What an inspired recipe and gorgeous presentation. Your tip about having your scallops really dry is a great one–I recently skipped that step and just didn’t have a crust. Should have known.

    1. Thank you very much, Victoria for the lovely compliment. Scallops really do need to be very dry or they just kind of sit in the pan and steam.

  4. Pan seared scallops… one of my favorite things to dine on! And these look delicious. Love the Orange Ponzu reduction. I’ve often thought the flavor of orange mingled ever so nicely with scallops. Combined with the Asian flavors… a winning combination. Happy Monday Karen!

  5. This looks the business .. Scallops I can eat if I have too, but I wouldn’t chose it myself and never cook it if I have the choice. But I like the way you have platted them and the combination of ingredients. Well done.

      1. You’re so right .. I have done a salmon in orange for years.So it will go with scallops too. Fruit and seafood is very Westindian.

    1. Thank you John, for your very nice compliment. One thing I know…it does cost as much to prepare compared to one eating it in a Michelin restaurant.

    1. Hi Cayla, I love scallops as well. It is a wonderful seafood ingredient that can be prepared many ways. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  6. This is a beautiful dish, Karen. I’ve only cooked scallops once, and sadly in my attempt not to over cook, they were too under cooked! Maybe I will try again, because this is tempting. Thanks, too, for the introduction to a rice new to me! Simply elegant! Debra

    1. Hi Debra, Thank you for your nice comment. You know that a lot of people eat scallops raw so it really isn’t a problem if they are a little undercooked. If you have a timer, try cooking just one. It all depends on their size but try two minutes each side. Remove to a plate and peak inside. If it is not done to your liking put it back on for another minute. Once you get the time right for the way you like them, then cook the rest. I had seen the rice once before in a gourmet shop but now that it is in my local market and costs much less I couldn’t pass it by.

    1. Hi Larry, I was just on your blog commenting as you were visiting mine. This dish was so fast and easy that I had the time to make a pretty presentation. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  7. Very beautiful plating Karen, and a great creative leap as well! Yes, I never quite understood that bacon wrapped scallops dish. I think everyone up here in New England thinks bacon is a staple…
    I love scallops naked, simply pan seared! Great job!

    1. Thank you CJ, for your nice compliment. New Englanders really do like bacon wrapped scallops. I think they are good but to me the bacon overpowers the delicate taste of scallops. That is why I think a drizzle is better than a lot of sauce on most seafood dishes that incorporate one.

    1. Hi Dana, Thank you for your nice comment. Take a look where soy sauce is sold in your market and I bet you will find it. I live in a rural area and was happy to have found it in our market.

  8. If it’s true we eat with our eyes first, I’ve just enjoyed a feast! As pretty as can be, and I love the recipe. (Also a huge fan of black rice!) Really Lovely, Karen!

    1. Hi Spree, Thank you so very much for your kind words. I do believe we eat with our eyes as well as our mouth. I so happy that I found the black rice. I love its taste and texture.

  9. Gorgeous, gorgeous plating … that’s one place I still need a lot of work on. 🙂 I love scallops and would devour the entire meal with relish. 🙂

    1. Ponzu sauce is a Japanese citrus sauce. You should be able to find it where soy sauce is at your market. I live in a rather rural area and both of the markets where I shop carry it so I don’t believe you will have a problem finding it. If you couldn’t locate it you could use soy sauce and lime juice combined with the orange juice for a similar reduction. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  10. Wonderful presentation Karen – I’m not the world’s biggest fan of scallops, though I can definitely enjoy them occasionally. The wonderful ponzu reduction on top would make them hard to resist, definitely :D.

    I just love the look of that rice too – I’ve never heard of, or seen it, before – looks absolutely delightful!

    1. Hi Charles, The ponzu reduction would be good on other seafood as well as the scallops. I just love the black rice. Not only do I like the wonderful dark color but the taste and texture are great as well. I hope it is something that you can find in France. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  11. I am a HUGE scallop fan and I can just see me making this on a warm, spring day and enjoying it all by myself. Yes Karen, I can eat all of these by myself lol

      1. Thank you so much Kelli, I really appreciate that. Plus I hope that you and your daughter will enjoy the recipe.

    1. Hi Chunklet, I think you will really enjoy the orange ponzu reduction. I thought it was perfect for the scallops but I think that it would be great on other seafood as well.

    1. Thank you Susan. I really appreciate your compliment. This is perfect for a dinner for two because it is so easy to prepare but pretty enough for dinner guests.

    1. If you don’t think you would like scallops or they are not available, the reduction would work on most seafoods. I think it would be good on chicken as well but you might need a little more sauce. Thank you so much for the nice comment.

  12. While this looks aesthetically pleasing, we are not ready to move on from the fish tacos yet. I made them again last night for my daughter–she loved them too!! I wonder how many times I will eat fish tacos before April 1st??? ~~Bliss

    1. Hi Bliss, I don’t blame you for loving the fish tacos…they seem to be a favorite of many of the bloggers who have visited my post about them. If it wasn’t for you, I would have enjoyed them at the restaurant once. By recreating the dish for you after your request, so many of us get to enjoy the tacos. I’m really so happy that you enjoy the recipe. When you are ready to move on, the ponzu reduction is really a winner on whatever seafood you might enjoy.

  13. The rice is intriguing, Karen, I’ve only ever had Black Jamaican Rice (it was royal, or king or something) but it was very rich tasting, almost like molasses…in fact, it turned everything a purple hue. I wonder what your rice tastes like?

    1. Hi Eva, I have not had the rice you are mentioning. There was no molasses taste to what I had. The Black Japonica was nutty, black brown and had a texture similar to brown or wild rice.

  14. I love sea scallops Karen and yours look wonderful. I also wanted to comment here about how lovely your potting shed and finished potted seeds look. All so spic n span! My hubby is in the process of building me a raised bed garden. We have terrible black clay soil, as you may know, having lived in Texas, and so I’ve decided a raised bed is the way to go. Hoping to fill it with dirt and get something planted within the next few days. I’ll go with pre-started plants this year as I feel I might be a bit late but am giving it a go none the less. I can already taste fresh tomatoes from my own garden….mouth watering goodness.

    1. Thank you Linda for your nice comment about the scallops and also about my potting shed. I think going with pre-started plants will be perfect for you. I remember the clay soil of Texas very well and think raised beds should produce a good crop of homegrown tomatoes.

  15. the rice looks so interesting – something we won’t get here I am sure. I love ponzu sauce and I keep a variety of different soy sauces in my fridge – sadly nothing like those that I saw recently on The Next Iron Chef 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, The orange ponzu reduction was a nice compliment to the scallops. The rice was a nice addition to this meal with its nice texture and nutty taste. I know that living in certain parts of the world we have a hard time finding certain products. I was pleasantly surprised to find new products to try.

  16. Karen, I love your Asian fusion dish, I’m sure ponzu sauce is perfect with scallops. The presentation is so “haute cuisine”! Congratulations!
    Have you mentioned scallops wrapped in bacon? For me it sounds very original actually and extremely luscious! I will certainly remember this staple from your region 🙂
    I’m glad you can buy ponzu sauce. I love it!
    I don’t think I have ever seen this rice. Very intriguing.

    1. Hi Sissi, Thank you for your nice compliment. The orange ponzu reduction was a prefect compliment to the sea scallops. Yes scallops wrapped in bacon are very popular here in New England as an appetizer. I just recently found the rice. I’m surprised that you have not seen a similar rice as you have access to so many asian products where you live.

  17. I am glad to hear I am in the culinary capital- Asia. I love ponzu sauce and to hear it made with oranges had my attention. This dish sounds so simple and beautiful. Karen look at you with all of your fancy plating, love it! Take Care, BAM

    1. Hi Bam, I really think that Asian inspired dishes are making their way around the world and every one loves them. I’m glad you liked my idea of the orange ponzu reduction…I thought it turned out well. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Sharyn, for your nice compliment. I think you should be able to find the Black Japonica rice if they carry it here in New Hampshire.

  18. This looks lovely and I do enjoy a good ponzu sauce and it’s been AGES since I have made an Asian inspired meal. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Hi France, Thank you for your compliment. If you enjoy Asian flavors, I think you will enjoy the meal. Happy to hear that I have inspired you.

    1. Hi Desi, Thank you for letting me know that you made the orange ponzu reduction and enjoyed it. I’m always so appreciative when someone takes the time to let me know that they enjoyed one of my recipes.

      1. I know what you mean, besides eating and feeding others, I love knowing when someone else made something of mine and liked it. It’s a great way to connect with people! BTW, your presentation rocked!

  19. That is absolutely WOW!!!! The recipe looks very simple, yet elegant and delicious! I always get nervous with scallops because I’m so afraid of overcooking them and having them become rubbery!

    1. Thanks Ducky. I thought everyone would like something that is so easy and quick to prepare but would still be nice enough for guests. Use a timer and you will not overcook your scallops. Cook one scallop 2 minutes each side…check and if it is cooked the way you like it then that is what you will do each time you prepare them. If you think it is undercooked add back to the pan for 1 minute. Once you get the timing right…they will be the same all the time. One other note: I always ask for a certain number of scallops instead of say a pound, etc. I also ask for the largest ones they have. If I don’t, I find that you end up with ones that are torn, varying sizes, etc.

    1. Thank you Beti, for your comment. Living in New England, I know that bacon wrapped scallops are a very popular appetizer. I think for dinner you might really enjoy this dish.

    1. Hi Sawsan, Thank you for your very nice compliment. I know that many readers live in a place where it is impossible to get certain ingredients. I see so many dishes that I wish I could prepared but the ingredients are impossible to find in my rural area so I know what you mean.

  20. Karen, I adore scallops and know I’d love yours with the orange reduction. They sound delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  21. I know this sounds bizzare, but I do actually have canned vegan scallops (“Skallops”) that I found and bought on a whim. I had no idea what to do with them, so this may just do the trick!

    1. Hi Hannah, Thank you for stopping by to let me know about vegan scallops. I would love to hear back from you if you use the orange ponzu reduction with the “Skallops”.

    1. Hi Lacey, Thank you for your compliment. I’m happy that I have given you inspiration for a new way of preparing scallops. I think you will enjoy this recipe.

  22. I found ponzu sauce at my favourite international market but no scallops (instead I picked up some pineapple cut squid bodies for another dish). And they had two kinds of black rice … a glutinous black rice and something that was labelled black rice (with japanese characters) but the only English text on the back talked about using it for dessert and pudding so I was hesitant to spend the money.

    1. Hi Boleyn, I think you are very adventuresome to be making squid steaks. I’ll be looking for a future post. i think the reduction should go well on the squid no matter how you cook it. I’m sorry…I can’t advise you about the rice you saw at the market.

  23. I’m sure that ponzu orange sauce works incredibly well with the seared scallops. What an amazing and interesting and vibrant dish – I’m a big fan of Asian flavours xx

    1. Hi Alli, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. The ponzu sauce was wonderful in the reduction. The flavors of the whole dish really marry so well together.

      1. I need to take a trip to the fish markets sometime soon, I really love scallops in the half shell with Chinese style vermicelli and XO sauce, each to their own!!!

        Truly, your snow peas and carrots were arranged perfectly! The photo was entirely symmetrical which worked so well with the round scallop discs, yum!

  24. I am with “cork and spoon” above HOLY MOLE! that is an a beautiful plate. Great tips about shopping and cooking the scallops too!
    PS As I always think..this would be good made as shrimp and dipping a sauce I bet!

    1. Thank you Carol for your very nice compliment. This is a pretty plate of food and it tastes as good as it looks. It would definitely be delicious with shrimp.

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