Braised Fish Maw and Shiitake Mushroom (CNY 2020)
Fish maw is dried swim bladder of large fish like croaker. For Cantonese, it is considered one of the four delicacies of the sea, abalone, sea cucumber, shark’s fin and fish maw. Well I myself wouldn’t eat or purchase any shark’s fin but shark’s fin soup is still commonly seen in some of the family gathering dinners in my family. I don’t want to be judgmental and wouldn’t blame the senior for ordering this food, food culture is complicated sometimes.
Let’s talk about fish maw. Fish maw is a good source of collagen and low in fats. It helps with blood circulation. Best for people with weak lungs and kidneys or suffering from anemia. It is soft and smooth, rich in gelatin and absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. Since fish maw is a luxury food ingredient, it needs to be taken good care. It usually requires more than 10 hours of reconstitution before it is soft and usable.
Fish maw is suitable for making soup or braising. In this recipe, I would braise it with shiitake mushroom, dry oyster and dry scallop. These three ingredients are full of rich flavour and they are natural seasoning for the fish maw.
Ingredients – all ingredients can be obtained in good Chinese grocery store
Fish maw, 4, 80g
Dry shiitake mushroom, also called flower mushroom, 6, 90g
Dry oyster, 4, 20g
Dry scallop/conpoy, 2, 15g
Ginger slices, 80g
Spring onion, a bunch
Bak choy, a handful
Cantonese oyster sauce, 4tbsp
Cantonese cooking wine, 2tbsp
Preparation – ingredients must be prepared at least a night before cooking
- Shiitake mushroom
Choose good quality of shiitake mushroom for this dish. Choose those in similar size so that they can be cooked evenly. Wash then soak them in clean water overnight. They should be soft enough the other day. Cut off the stems but remember to keep the infused water.
- Dry oyster and scallop
Both washed then soak in clean water. Also keep the infused water.
- Fish maw
50g of ginger slices and a bunch of spring onion in a big soup pot, plenty of water, bring to boil. Then put in the fish maw, lid on and heat off immediately. Leave it and check the other day to see if they are soft enough. If not, change a pot of clean water and soak for a few more hours. It really depends on how thick and how big the fish maw is. Cut the fish maw to pieces with a scissor, about half palm size. Rinse them in clean water.
Cooking – use a non-stick pan or pot in case fish maw stick on the bottom
1. Heat 2tbsp of oil on pan, stir-fry 30g of ginger slices till fragrant;
2. Put in the mushroom, also stir-fry till fragrant;
3. Add in the soften scallop and oyster, and both of the infused water; Seasoned with 4tbsp of oyster sauce, 2tbsp of Cantonese rice wine, lid on, in medium heat, simmer for 20 minutes;
4. Put in the fish maw and keep braising in medium heat. Check every 5 minutes, don’t overcook otherwise they will just melt away. Fish maw will absorb liquid so add a little more water if needed. Braise 15 minutes till fish maw is tender and silky; Have a taste and you may adjust with a little more salt or sugar. They all have natural sweetness and saltiness, don’t overseason;
5. Poach a handful of bak-choy or Chinese lettuce for decoration;
6. Plating the mushroom and fish maw. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch. Dissolve 1tbsp of cornstarch with 3tbsp of water, gradually add in and stir, till the sauce is thickened to your preference;
7. Pour the sauce on top and the rest in a small bowl. This dish should be served with steamed jasmine rice.