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Featuring Cardamom
Soup of Sea Scallops Baked in Tender Coconut with Cardamom, Curry Leaves, and Poha Flakes
by Thomas John
Mantra, Boston
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: Serves 4
2 tender (green) coconuts washed
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaf
5 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
1 cup shallots, peeled and minced
1 green chili pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground turmeric
3 plum tomatoes, washed and cut into small dice
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut water (from coconuts above)
1 cup fish stock
Salt to taste
1/2 pound Maine sea scallops


1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup Poha (beaten rice)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon freshly ground cardamom
Salt to taste

Slice off the top of the coconuts and reserve to use as a lid. Drain the coconuts and reserve the water for using later on.

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. When oil is heated, add the mustard seeds and stir until they begin to crackle and become aromatic. Add the curry leaf and cardamom to the pan and stir for a couple of seconds, then add the ginger, shallots, and green chili. Lower the heat and cook slowly until soft and translucent. Add the turmeric and cook for 10 seconds more, then add the diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add the coconut milk, coconut water, and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil and season with salt. Strain the liquid through a chinois into another saucepan. Add the diced scallops to the hot liquid and pour the broth and scallops into the coconuts. Place the coconuts in a baking dish and bake at 450 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and take the lids off the coconuts.

To make the poha flakes, in a deep pot, heat the 5 inches of vegetable oil to 400 degrees F. Place the poha rice in a metal strainer. Dip the strainer into the hot oil for 10 seconds. Remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper, such as paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and ground cardamom.

When serving, pour the hot soup into a bowl and garnish by sprinkling the poha flakes over the top.


These recipes were provided by participating chefs and have not been tested by The James Beard Foundation.