Serves 6-8
The Chinese tradition of smoking foods over tea instead of wood has become popular in this country, especially as more home cooks have learned how simple it can be. Done right on the stovetop, it makes no mess. The smoking ingredients - a mixture of dried black tea leaves and spices - are put in a foil-lined wok. The food is placed on a rack above the mixture and covered until the distinctively flavored smoke cooks the scallops. A simple soy, ginger and cilantro marinade gives a delicate lift to big sea scallops. The light, slightly sweet smoke cooks them to silky perfection. After chilling, we serve them with a creamy mustard sauce. You might also want to slice the smoked scallops and serve them on endive spears, garnished with a dollop of the sauce.


Scallops and Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 4 scallions , (trimmed to include1inch of green) minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops

Smoking Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smashed star anise ( or substitute aniseeds)
  • 1/2 cup black tea leaves


  • 2 tablespoons Colman's dry English mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup whole-milk yogurt ( available in natural-food stores)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablspoon Asian sesame oil


To marinate scallops: Combine wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, ginger, cilantro and sugar in a large Pyrex pie plate. Whisk well to combine. Add scallops and turn to coat well with marinade. Cover dish with plastic, and refrigerate, turning several times, for 1 1/2 to 3 hours.

To make smoking mixture: Line a wok with heavy foil; also line inside of wok's cover. Combine brown sugar, anise and tea leaves in wok. Place a rack or steaming basket about 3 inches above steaming mixture. Rearrange scallops in a singlelayer. Place pie plate on rack; cover wok. If it does not have a lid, cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. Cook over high heat until you can smell smoke, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let scallops rest, still covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make sauce: In a medium bowl, combine mustards and blend well. Whisk in sour cream, then yogurt, Worchestershire and white pepper. Chill until needed. Sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Carefully transfer scallops to a clean plate. Toss with sesame oil. Chill for several hours. Serve cold, with sauce. Serves 6-8.


From Cooking Under Cover, by Linda & Fred Griffith.