Keralan scallop molee

Try an opulent curry with scallops and tomatoes for the taste of Kerala. Or, for a less pricey version, you could use prawns and chunks of meaty white fish

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:35 mins
  • Serves 4
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 322
  • fat 21g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 14g
  • sugars 6g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 21g
  • salt 1.5g


  • 600g (shelled weight) queen scallops, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp coconut or groundnut oil
  • ½ black mustard seeds
  • ¼ cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2½ cm cube of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 20 curry leaves (or 40 dried)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1½ tbsp chopped fresh coriander, to serve
  • plain boiled rice, to serve


  1. Look at the scallops to find a little white bit at the side – this becomes tough when cooked, so cut it off (watch our how to prepare scallops video to find out more). If you have small queen scallops, you probably won’t need to halve them, but if you have large ones, slice them in half horizontally.

  2. Heat the oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the onion, chillies, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Cook for 12 mins or until the onion is golden and the ginger no longer tastes ‘raw’. Add the turmeric, cook for 1 min, then add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, season and add the tomatoes. Cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is slightly thicker and reduced. (If you want to cook this in advance – and the base does taste better after a day in the fridge – stop now, cool and chill. When reheating, bring it to just under the boil before you add the scallops.)

  3. Add the scallops (and prawns or fish, if using) and cook gently for 5 mins (longer if you’re using meaty chunks of fish fillet) or until cooked through. Add lime or lemon juice to taste and season well. Scatter with coriander and serve with rice.

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