Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to prepare dried sea cucumber

Hubby bought dried sea cucumber from Dalian China. A delicacy and supposing very expensive in Singapore as this is the spiky one. Costs around $10 each, but after proper treatment, i can see why its worth the money...

His Dalian colleagues recommended this brand and they went to carrefour Dalian to buy. Buy it anywhere else, beware of fakes! They have instructions on how to prepare the cucumbers and even recipes too!

Its amazing how much it can 'grow'...

Dried form

After soaking in water (in the fridge) for 3-4 days. Water needs to be changed daily.


Before cooking, cut open the tummy side of the sea cucmber, remove the intestines and the sandy dirt near the 'mouth'. Fairly simple. When in doubt, simply remove any suspicious looking stuff inside.

The cooking process is pretty tedious.
Place in pot with water covering the sea cucumber for at least 10 cm.
Cook for 40 mins, off heat and simmer for 30 mins.
Cook for 30 mins, off heat and simmer for 25 mins.
Press sea cucumber to ensure its soften throughout.
Cook and simmer again if u can feel hardness. The time can be adjusted accordingly.
its 70% done now.

Place in ice water, put into the fridge for 2-3 days. Change water daily.
This is the end product. Ready to be stored in the freezer if not consuming immediately.

Isnt it amazing?! This is almost ready to eat.

i cooked it 2 ways so far. First is in a soup. Double boil 2 sea cucumber with about 5 dried scallops, 2 dried oyster, 2 dried mushroom. Cook for 30-45 mins. The soup is starchy and rich but the sea cucumber is pretty much dissolved and we cant taste the crunch.

Second time, i had some soya sauce gravy from braised duck. So i added water to the gravy, again add  dried scallops, dried oyster and dried mushroom. Braise the sauce for 20-30 mins until the dried stuff are soft and all flavours released. Add sea cucumber and cook for another 5-10 mins. The sea cucumber will remain chewy to the bite and be infused with the savory sauce. Yum!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Soup bombs

My soup 'bombs'.

Isn't this is how we create water bombs during school days?

This is my way of stocking up soup / stock in my freezer. Packing in bags makes them easier to store, saves space and most importantly, it thaws easily too (dunk the bag in a bowl of water or remove from bag and place the giant 'ice' cube into a pot, place it over fire).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Multiple V soup

Didnt they say we need to eat vegetables that are of different colours cos they will give us different vitamins?

Well, this is one of those rare days that i have a stock of vegetables in my fridge.
Potatos, capsicum, tomato, celery and watercress.

Added a slice of fish for protein.
The potato provides the carbo i need, so no need for rice or noodle.
This soup is a meal in itself. Perfect for my dieting plans.

I can only have this kind of meals when i am home alone.

The soup looks oily, think its from the chicken stock i used. 
Using water will be the healthier choice but flavour is more important!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beef Stew again...

Following my first attempt at beef stew, this is my 2nd attempt.

This time round, there is a special request from my MIL as she does not know what to do with the beef in her fridge. Instead of just giving her the receipe, i decided to cook it for her to try first.

So the plan is to cook for Saturday dinner but i saw the beef chunks on sale when shopping during lunch time. So i decided to stock up the beef! super good price, 1 kg in all for about SGD10. Lucky me!

Next is to buy red wine. All the wine at home are expensive so i went scouting for a $13+ wine for cooking but ended up buying a $15 one... -_-''

Next is to buy vegetables, celery, tomato, potatoes, carrot and onion.

For seasoning, i used ginger, garlic, freshly grounded pepper, dried rosemary and bouquet garni (bought in London Tesco, didn't see them in Singapore supermarket so far)

Below is a shot taken directly from the pot. Looks a goody mess but i tell you, its a mess made in heaven. i am not boasting! its the best stew i have eaten so far, nicer then those i tasted in restaurants and cafes...

I have half a bottle of red wine left... will be cooking this again very soon!