Ying's ideas of easy Chinese home-cooking

Amoy Seafood Soup Vermicelli

厦门海鲜面线

I had terrible bowel movement and been in and out the loo for the whole day! Thus, for dinner, I badly needed something comfy and wouldn’t create any burden to my stomach, something tender and nutritious. Congee was one of the choices but it needed one or two hours to simmer. Noodle is quick and among all types, flour vermicelli is the tenderest one.

Flour Vermicelli is a representative noodle in Fujian Province, Southeast China, and Taiwan. For the recipe of this seafood soup vermicelli, one friend told me his family would use fresh seafood whereas another said she wouldn’t mind fresh or preserved. Moreover, for the texture of the vermicelli, one said traditionally it should be very soft, even melt in the soup, while another suggested to keep a little biting. Anyway, I would use dry seafood for the broth since I prefer their deeper flavour and I always keep some in fridge. And for the noodle, I would let them absorb the broth and wouldn’t cook for too long. This is the recipe I prefer.

Serve 2

Ingredients –
2 big dry scallops, 4 medium size dry oysters, and a small handful of dry shrimps, about 60g in total. These three types of dry seafood are the most typical in any Cantonese fridge. They can be easily obtained in any Asian grocery store. There’s no need to purchase the big size ones, since they are far more expensive and what you need is the flavour;

2 flour vermicelli, about 120g;
Two bunches of Chinese lettuce, cleaned and tear apart;
Firm tofu, half chunk, cut into strips;
Carrot, 20g, sliced;
1 egg;
A pinch of finely chopped ginger, about 10g;
Salt, sugar and sesame seed oil.

How to do –
1. Wash the seafood slightly and soak them in water, about 1 cup, for 2 hours, or hot water, for half an hour;
2. Tear the scallop into shred when they are soft enough;
3. In a soup pot, put in the soaked seafood together with the water, don’t waste it. Add 3 cups of water in, bring to boil and simmer in medium heat for half an hour;
4. At the same time, poach the vermicelli in boiling water. It should be as quickly as a few second. I don’t want it to be soft at this stage. Drain and set aside;
5. Poach the Chinese lettuce in boiling water with a generous pinch of salt, also very quickly, about a few second, drain, and place them in the noodle bowls;
6. Add the tofu stripes and shredded carrot into the seafood broth, have a taste, adjust with salt and sugar. Dry seafood has natural saltiness so the broth needn’t much seasoning;
6. Add in the poached vermicelli and let it cook for about three minutes in the broth so as to absorb the taste;
7. After boiling for a few minute the amount of the broth should be reduced and the broth becomes starchy, like sauce coating the vermicelli. Meanwhile, the noodle can still be held by chopsticks;
8. Whisk one egg and pour round on the broth, turn off the heat;
9. Serve in the noodle bowl with lettuce in the bottom and sprinkle some drops of sesame oil on top.

In this way, the vermicelli would not be chewy at all, it’s so soft that one needn’t much biting. A big bowl of this in a cool day is such a comfortable joy.

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