Every Chinese New Year, we have to say something happy and prosperous. And when it comes to food, they have to be auspicious sounding too. Enter the dried Japanese oyster 蠔豉 and black moss 髮菜, in Mandarin and Cantonese they sounded like 【好市發財】”Prosperous Economy”. So how do we prepare these seemingly uninteresting ingredients?
Dried Oysters with Roast Pork and Black Moss
That’s the official name of the dish. Some may replace the roast pork with sea cucumber. It’s really personal preference, but roast pork adds a bit of smokiness into the dish. This is enough for around 4 persons.
Ingredients for preparing the Black Moss
|髮菜||8克||8g black moss|
|生粉 （清洗髮菜用 ）||1/2湯匙＋油1/2湯匙||1/2 tbsp cornstarch＋1/2 tbsp oil for cleaning|
|鹽||1/4茶匙||1/4 tsp salt|
|糖||1/4茶匙||1/4 tsp sugar|
|酒||1/2茶匙||1/2 tsp wine|
|雞湯||4湯匙||4 tbsp chicken stock|
|油||1/4湯匙||1/4 tbsp oil|
Adjust the sugar and salt accordingly as most commercial off-the-shelf chicken stock would already contain a large amount of sugar and salt. So always do a taste check before you add.
Even better, prepare your own chicken stock.
Prepare the black moss
1/ Soak the black moss in plenty of cold water for one morining to allow sand and soil to sink into the bottom of the bowl, Drain the black moss. Now rub 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp oil into the black moss.
2/ Rinse the black moss in several changes of water, removing as much of the impurities as possible. Squeeze dry the black moss. There will be fine sand at the bottom of the bowl.
3/ Season the black moss with salt, sugar, wine, chicken stock and oil in a small steamer bowl. You may adjust the amount based on how salty or sweet you want. Use just enough stock so as not to make the moss soggy.
4/ Cover with aluminium foil and steam for 30 min. Set aside the steamed black moss.
Ingredients for preparing the dried oysters
Most of the drying process of oysters would have saltiness that occur naturally. Unless you have soaked the oysters to death, you would not be needing oyster sauce, salt and sugar. But a little sou sauce would add a different plant based savouriness to the whole dish. Always test the taste before adding the next condiment.
|日本大蠔豉||10隻||10 large Japanese-dried oysters|
|中型冬菇（浸透）||8隻||8 Shiitake mushrooms, medium size, soaked|
|燒豬腩（起肉，切成長塊）||200克||200g roast belly pork, rib bones removed and cut into rectangular pieces|
|乾瑤柱（蒸熟後拆散）||10隻||10 pieces (around 50g) dried scallop, steamed and shredded|
|唐生菜 / 西蘭花||1顆||1 stalk Chinese lettuce or broccoli|
|薑||2至3片||2-3 pieces of sliced ginger|
|葱段||2條||2 sprigs spring onion|
|油（煎蠔豉用）||1湯匙||1 tbsp oil for searing|
|鹽||1/4茶匙||1/4 tsp salt (optional)|
|糖||1/2茶匙||1/2 tsp sugar (optional)|
|薑汁||1/2茶匙||1/2 tsp ginger juice|
|紹興酒||1/4湯匙||1/4 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine|
|生粉||1/2茶匙||1/2 tsp cornstarch|
|油||1/4湯匙||1/4 tbsp oil|
|雞湯||1/2杯||1/2 cup chicken stock|
|水||~1杯||1 cup water, added over time|
|蠔油||1/2湯匙||1/2 tbsp oyster sauce|
|老抽||1/4湯匙||1/4 tbsp dark soya sauce|
|糖||1/4茶匙||1/4 tsp sugar (optional)|
|鹽||1/8茶匙||1/8 tsp salt (optional)|
|紹興酒||1茶匙||1 tsp Chinese Shaoxing wine|
|玫瑰露酒||1/2茶匙||1/2 tsp rose wine (optional)|
|麻油||1/4茶匙||1/4 tsp sesame oil|
|生粉||1茶匙||1 tsp cornstarch|
|水||1湯匙||1 tbsp water|
Prepare the dried goods
You would need to prepare all the dried goods like dried oysters, dried shiitake mushrooms and dried scallops prior to use.
1/ Soak the dried oysters in cold water for 10 minutes or more until they are softer, then rub gently with your fingers to get rid of dirt and sand. Remove and discard the hard muscles. Rinse well with water, drain and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
Tip: Drying helps to prevent splatter when you fry the oysters with oil. So dry it as much as you can.
2/ Marinate the hydrated oysters with salt, sugar, ginger juice, wine, cornstarch and oil.
3/ Steam the washed dried scallops until soft. Shred and leave for later use
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
4/ Wash and soak the dried mushrooms until soft and plump. Take out from the soaking liquid and wash the hydrated mushrooms. Leave aside for later use.
Tip: Filter and do not discard the soaking liquid. You may use it for adding liquid to the braising sauce for added flavours.
1/ Heat up a heavy, flat-bottomed frying pan, add 1 tbsp oil, and when hot, fry the ginger and spring onion until fragrant. Now sear the dried oysters in this oil until golden brown.
Tip: You may also use a claypot like I did to do everything in it. Claypot are perfect for braising as it keeps a constant temperature anddoes not dry up as quickly.
2/ Sizzle in the two types of wine（Shaoxing and rose wine, then splash in the chicken stock and water. Transfer the oysters and sauce into a braising pan. If you use a claypot, just proceed to the next step.
Caution: Do not use a non-stick pan for braising.
3/ Add the shredded dry scallop, and add oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, sugar and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a fast simmer, covered, for 1 hour, replenish with water if necessary.
Tip: Remember to check the braising liquid, never let it dry up.
4/ Add the roast belly pork pieces, mushrooms and continue to braise with the oyster for 30 minutes; add more liquid if necessary, make sure there remains 1 cup of liquid at the end of cooking. Drain the sauce and set aside.
5/ Arrange oysters at the bottom of a deep bowl, then a layer of roast pork, a layer of mushrooms and finally cover with dark moss. Pour the drained sauce into the bowl and steam for 20 minutes.
Tip: Depending on the amount of braising liquid you have left, you may want to only return part of the sauce as the base for steaming the final assembly.
6/ After the oysters are soft, drain the sauce from the steamed bowl into a wok. Bring the sauce to boil and thicken with cornstarch mixture. Sizzle in sesame oil.
7/ Place a plate over the bowl and invert the oysters, mushrooms etc. onto the plate. Be sure to hold the plate and bowl firmly together. Lift and remove the bowl.
8/ Pour the sauce over it. You may serve it over a bed of blanched Chinese lettuce or steamed broccoli.
Recipe adapted from Anne Leong’s original from eastweek.com.hk