1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 fresh Thai red chiles, thinly sliced
2 bunches green onions, white & green parts, thinly sliced, separated
2 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
2 14-ounce cans best quality coconut milk, such as Mae Ploy
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 tablespoon palm sugar or light brown sugar, or more to taste
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla), or more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Saute’ chile and white parts of scallions, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Pat scallops dry and season with salt. Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cooking in batches, so as not to crowd, saute’ scallops until light golden, about 2 minutes on each side (scallops will be ALMOST cooked through). Transfer to a bowl with any juices that may have accumulated and set aside.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons curry paste, stirring, and saute’ for 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk 1/4 cup at a time until well incorporated. Taste, then mix the remaining 1/2 tablespoon curry paste with a little of the coconut milk mixture in a small bowl, and add if you’d like a little more heat. Stir in the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to the skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 minutes.
Taste sauce and correct seasoning.
Add the scallops with their liquid to the sauce and heat to a quick simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 1-2 minutes just to reheat the scallops, being careful not to overcook.
To serve, remove scallops to a wide heated bowl and pour sauce over scallops. Sprinkle with scallion greens/red chile mixture and cilantro. Serve over steamed Jasmine rice.