Spicy Indian Scallop Curry

Spicy Indian Scallop Curry
Serves 2 to 3
Can be doubled| Can be halved| Freezes well (curry base only)

During our first year of marriage while Mahir was still in business school, and I quit my consulting job to move to Philadelphia to be with him, we spent hours making time consuming Indian curries. The recipes we used- a mix from Web sites and cookbooks- weren’t only  elaborate in their preparation but also in their calorie and fat content. The dishes called for 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oil and copious amounts of either coconut milk or fresh coconut. I remember buying the whole fruit from the local Whole Foods, spreading newspapers on our kitchen floor, cracking the shell open and going through the laborious process of scraping the meat from the inside.

Though I loved how they tasted, I wasn’t thrilled at what the curries did to my figure, and I begged him to come up with a tablespoon of oil worthy version. The following recipe is what he turned out. It satisfies not only my picky palate but is also a winner with everyone from my old-fashioned Indian grandparents to non-Indians who like Indian food. They think they’re eating some decadent Indian curry, and are always surprised when we tell them an entire generous batch uses less than one tablespoon of oil. We usually make a triple batch without the seafood and freeze what we aren’t using so whenever that Indian food craving strikes, we defrost the curry, warm it in a shallow pan with some water, add some seafood and are ready to tuck in within minutes .    ~Shivani


1 pound of fresh scallops
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 14.5 ounce can of unsalted diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (a pungent spice mixture sold at specialty food stores and available online at (www.kalustyans.com)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
2 teaspoons of oil
1 handful of chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste


Heat the oil on medium heat in a large non-stick pan.

Add onions, mix with oil and set heat to medium-low. This lets the onions cook without burning.

After 5 to 6 minutes or when onions are soft, set heat to medium and let onions slightly brown.

Add in ginger and garlic and fry for one minute, stirring frequently.

Add coriander powder and fry for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

Add the remaining spices and mix well.

Add one cup of water.

When water is almost evaporated, add in tomatoes, salt, mix well and cook for 10 minutes, covered

Add in scallops and cook until done.

If too much of the water has evaporated, and you want a more soup like curry, add 1/4 cup at a time until you get your desired consistency.

Top with cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:

Brown or white rice absorbs up the flavorful curry juice beautifully. Onion slivers squeezed with lime juice adds a nice crunch. Spicy cauliflower, steamed spinach or a salad with your favorite lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers and a lemon and olive oil dressing are great vegetable sides.


Scallops are only type of seafood you can use in this curry. Any mild fish including shrimp, tilapia fillets and halibut make for an equally tasty end result!

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5 thoughts on “Spicy Indian Scallop Curry

  1. Just love ‘A Tablespoon of Oil’and the latest Indian Curry recipe with delightful scallops will be delicious without being decadent I just know it.
    In fact, on our present regime of weight loss your regular emails are most welcome as they are so personal with, not only excellent recipes, but handy tips.Will write a comment after cooking Spicy Indian Scallop Curry. Thank you

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I promise you that this recipe will be a hit especially if you love spicy Indian flavors! Please do let me know how it turns out once you try it.

  2. As expected the Spicy Indian Scallop recipe was a great success, very tasty indeed and without the guilt of having too much oil. I must say that it was an Indian Curry with a difference but nonetheless thoroughly satisfying.Thank you once again

  3. Pingback: Meal Planning 101 « A Tablespoon of Oil . . .

  4. I cooked this tonight, but substituted the scallops with haddock, and also added some pureed carrot…absolutely delicious, light yet satisfying.

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