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Chinese Scallops and Asparagus

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Chinese scallops and asparagus is a hugely popular, yet light meal.

Go to pretty much any Cantonese Chinese restaurant and you are almost certain to find scallops and asparagus on the menu. This is a delicious and very simple Chinese recipe that only requires a few easy to find ingredients. 

The only ingredient that might be difficult to source where you live is the Chinese chicken powder or MSG. These are optional and can be left out though your scallops and asparagus will taste much more like those at restaurants if you use one or the other. 

Chinese Scallops and Asparagus

What is Chinese scallops and asparagus?

Chinese scallops and asparagus is a dish in Chinese cuisine that typically features scallops and asparagus as the main ingredients, stir-fried together with a flavourful combination of sauces and seasonings. The dish is known for its delicious and harmonious blend of textures and flavours.

This is a Chinese-American version of the recipe. It is worth noting that the scallops farmed in China and the asparagus is different to western varieties. This recipe is much more like you would find in an American Chinese restaurant or any western Chinese restaurant.

What are the key ingredients in Chinese scallops and asparagus?

The exact preparation of Chinese scallops and asparagus can vary, but here’s a general idea of what goes into this and other versions of the recipe:

  • Scallops
  • Fresh asparagus spears
  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Soy sauce (soy sauce is often added. About a tablespoon but I don’t add it to my scallops and asparagus).
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil for stir-frying

How do you cook the Chinese scallops and asparagus?

This is a really quick and easy stir fry. The carrots and asparagus are first blanched to tenderise them. Then you fry the scallops and set them aside. The scallops are cooked separately like this so that you don’t overcook them.

Then all the aromatics and vegetables are all fried before adding the sauce and returning the scallops to the pan. 

You are literally only about 10 minutes away from an amazing Chinese meal.

How do you cook the scallops to perfection?

Scallops become tough if you overcook them. This is especially so if you slice them in half so be sure to watch them carefully.

In this recipe, you slice the scallops down the middle giving you two thin slices of scallop. You then heat the wok over a high heat and flash fry the scallops. They will only need two minutes in the wok!

Add them to the wok and let them brown for about a minute. Then flip them all over to lightly brown them on the other side. Done! Get them out and off the heat.

Step by step photographs

Prepared ingredients for Chinese scallops and asparagus

Gather and prepare all your ingredients before you start stir-frying.

Blanching the carrots and asparagus.

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the carrots and asparagus and blanch for about 40 seconds. Be sure to peel off the skin of the larger pieces of asparagus first.

Running cold water of the strained asparagus and carrots.

Strain and the run cold water over the blanched vegetables. Set aside.

Frying the scallops in a wok.

Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat and cook the scallops for about 2 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Frying the chopped garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallions) in a hot wok.

In the remaining oil, heat fry the garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallion) for about a minute.

Adding the mushrooms and red onion to the hot wok.

Stir in the red onions and mushrooms and continue frying for another minute to soften.

Returning the blanched carrots and asparagus to the wok.

Return the blanched carrots and asparagus to the wok and stir in the sauce. 

Adding the seared scallops to the wok.

Now pour in the seared scallops and stir well to combine.

Scallops with asparagus

This dish is so tasty and light too. Give it a try soon.

Chinese scallops with asparagus

Dig in!

You might also like to try some of these Chinese-American favourites!

I am adding new Chinese recipes to my blog regularly so be sure to check out the Chinese section often. For now, why not try some of these Chinese-American classics?

  1. General Tso’s Chicken
  2. Crispy Chicken and Broccoli
  3. Salt and Pepper Chicken
  4. Sesame Chicken
  5. Sweet and Sour Chicken
  6. Kung Pao Chicken
  7. Dan Dan Noodles
  8. Orange Chicken
  9. Hainan Chicken
  10. Spicy Chicken Chow Mein
  11. Mongolian Beef
  12. Chinese Crispy Beef
  13. Egg Drop Soup
  14. Spicy Won Ton Soup
  15. Egg Fried Rice

Have you tried this recipe for Chinese Scallops and Asparagus?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

Yield: 4

Chinese Scallops and Asparagus

Chinese scallops and asparagus
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 250g (9 oz.) scallops
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g (9 oz.) fresh asparagus, cut at an angle into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 generous tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
  • ¼ red onion, broken into petals
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) or peanut oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese chicken powder or ½ MSG (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 5 tbsp water or unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 ½ tsp cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  1. Wash and dry the scallops and place them on a paper towel. The prepare the sauce by mixing the oyster sauce, chicken powder or MSG and Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry together. Set aside. The whisk the chicken stock with the cornflour in another bowl to make a slurry. Set this aside too.
  2. Bring 750ml (3 cups) water to a boil in a saucepan. When boiling, stir in the salt and then add the asparagus and sliced carrot and blanch in the water for about 30 seconds.
  3. Strain and transfer the blanched vegetables to a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over a high heat. When the oil begins to glisten, add the scallops and fry for about 1 minute per side. Then transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallions) and fry for about a minute. Add the red onion petals and mushrooms and then stir in the blanched asparagus and sliced carrot. Continue cooking on high until the asparagus is cooked through but still a bit crispy.
  6. Stir in the seared scallops and the prepared sauce. Mix this all up so that all the vegetables and scallops are coated with the sauce and then slowly add a little of the slurry to thicken the sauce. Just add this to preference. You may not need it all.
  7. Drizzle the sesame oil over the top and serve hot.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 993mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

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