Nutrition at a glance
-Scallops are made up almost entirely of protein. They contain negligible fat or carbohydrates.
-Coconut milk is extremely calorie-dense and high in fat. Most of the fat in coconut milk is saturated (not dissimilar from butter). Though there is some controversy around coconut milk, with proponents claiming that the specific type of saturated fat it contains is different than that found in animal sources.
-Some data suggests that coconut milk may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol), while leaving LDL (bad cholesterol) levels unaffected. Regardless, as a high-fat, calorie dense food with questionable “health benefits,” more than the occasional consumption is probably not necessary.
Over the last twenty or so years, the Los Angeles food scene has been credited with leading the way in very little. But about five years ago (give or take), the city made a big play when the Kogi Korean BBQ truck figured out it could use emerging technology to attract new customers and grow their business. Kogi was credited by Newsweek as being “America’s first viral eatery…” – no doubt. Being generally skeptical of anything wildly popular (trends come and go – I’d rather figure out what works consistently), I remember being utterly astonished at the lines formed at the Kogi truck in the early days – a true social phenomenon.
But good for those guys for paving a path. As I see it, their success did a few things, and on a much larger scale that just impacting food in LA. First, it combined a mobile food business with social media in such a way that literally lead to food frenzy, largely kicking off the food truck scene, and leading to a slew of creative new methods for businesses to integrate social media into their everyday operations (IMHO, I think this is one of the most interesting turning points in recent social media use). Second, it brought fusion-cuisine back to the forefront of the LA food scene. Kogi’s “Korean BBQ tacos” struck a cord with LA eaters, and allowed people to see flavors through a new lens (you didn’t know you can see flavors through a lens? Well, you can.)
Where am I going with this? Well I would by lying if I said that when I prepare “fusion-dishes” like these coconut curry scallop enchiladas, Kogi BBQ does not run through my head at some point in the process. I remember the first time my friend Gaela took me to a bar called Alibi, where the Kogi guys had their only permanent food service location (not sure if they still do or not). Knowing that I was always interested in emerging businesses and people generally doing interesting things, she wanted her friend to introduce me to Mike Prasad, the guy who came up with the idea of tweeting Kogi’s nightly location as a way to drum up excitement amongst hungry bar-goers. We had a forgetable conversation, but importantly, I tasted their tacos. They were good – sure, and it made an impact on my cooking.
I grew up in Long Beach, eating from hole-in-the-wall taco joints like Casa Sanchez. Mexican flavors are familiar to me, and although we had a huge percentage of Asian residents in the city, I was never particularly drawn to the cooking or culture (that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy eating Thai or Cambodian food). But by cooking dishes with flavors I am comfortable with like Mexican, then introducing some foreign inspiration, I’m able to reinvent and continue to create, like these Coconut Curry Scallop Enchiladas – thanks Kogi.
Fusion restaurants continue to pop up around LA (though not “fusion” per se, Spice Table is probably my favorite restaurant I’ve eaten at in the last year), and given the way the restaurant scene has grown over the last couple of years, me thinks LA will be on the culinary map more and more moving forward.
-1 lb bay scallops
-1 can light coconut milk
-1.5 cups chicken stock
-1 stalk lemon grass, cut into fourths
-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved and quartered
-1 green onion
- fresh cilantro
-5-6 corn tortillas
-1 cup green cabbage, sliced very thin
-1 can black beans
-1.5 T curry powder
-Olive oil, salt and pepper
Total Time: 35 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the coconut milk, stock, and curry powder in a large saucepan. Bring over medium heat and add the lemongrass and halved tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops, season liberally with salt, pepper, and chili powder and let cook about 3 minutes before stirring. Stir and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Once cooked, remove from heat and let drain.
Heat the tortillas over medium heat. Once warmed, fill with cooked scallops and sliced cabbage. Transfer to oven-safe skillet or baking dish. Spoon over coconut-curry sauce until enchiladas are about halfway covered. Top with black beans. Place in preheated oven about 7-8 minutes.
Remove from heat at top with fresh cilantro, green onion, lime juice, and Srirachi (or other Asian-style) hot sauce.
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Recipe ID: 1046