Seared Scallops with Moglai Chana Dal and Preserved Lemon


This was honestly one of the most delicious dishes we had eaten in a while – it really has it all: spice, crunchy textures, soft textures, fresh herbs and a lasting kick from those preserved lemons. It doesn’t cost too much to put together, proving that luxury meals can come at a low cost that won’t leave you having to scrape together your pennies to feed the rest of the week! This is a great starter or a light lunch and we’re sure it’ll impress any guest who is lucky enough to dine with you.

You will need (serves 4):

  • 400g Chickpeas
  • 3 Tbsp preserved lemon skin (finely chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Sliced)
  • 2 Whole Tomatoes (cut each into 8)
  • 1 Large Pepper (whatever colour you like)
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh Coriander (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds (toasted and crushed)
  • 1 Red Onion (sliced)
  • 3 tsp Moglai Curry Paste
  • 4 Scallops (or however many you want each) – they should be patted dry to avoid sticking or falling apart in the pan!
  • A handful of Raisins

First thing you should do, using a small, sharp knife is to cut around the stalk of each pepper and lift it out with the seeds attached. Put the peppers on an oven tray, place underneath a very hot grill (as close to the heat as you can get it) and roast, turning every now and then, until they are black on the outside  (this should about take 25-30 minutes). When they’re good and ready, take them out, cover the tray with foil and leave to cool down slightly. Once they’re cool enough to touch, remove and discard the blackened skin (if you like – we like some skin left on) then cut them into strips. Leave the grill on as you’ll need it a little later for the tomatoes.

Next you wanna soften your chickpeas: simply place the can of chickpeas, water and all, into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until they’re soft, but you may need to add a little more water, just as long as they’re only just covered!
Whilst they’re simmering mix the tomatoes, garlic, a little oil, and 1 tsp of moglai paste and place them under the grill, in an oven proof dish, for about 15 minutes. They should be taken out when the juices are bursting out of the tomatoes and the garlic is browning nicely. For the last 5 minutes or so of your chickpeas simmering, add the onion slices, these should stay somewhat crunchy without getting over cooked.

Then drain the onions and chick peas, remove the tomatoes, and place in a bowl with the peppers. Add all the other ingredients (herbs etc) and mix well before setting aside. Turn on a frying pan and add a splash of oil and 1 tsp of the curry paste. When the oil is good and hot place the scallops in the pan and cook them for about a minute on each side, until they  have a lovely crunch and colour on each side, remove and set aside to rest for about two minutes. Whilst these are resting, heat up your dal in a pan for a minute or so, stirring gently, this shouldn’t take long.

All you have to do now is plate up and enjoy!


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