Jellyfish Salad 涼拌海蜇
By Ellen L. Published: 2012-06-24
A really weird yet delicious Chinese delicacy food is marinated jellyfish salad. That's right, jellyfish, those delicately glowing creatures of trailing tentacles and mushroom bodies that float like so many deadly but beautiful sea fairies through the ocean's waters. Humm, how ever did my Chinese ancestors ever figure out you can eat this? Well, I guess this is just more proof that the Chinese eat everything under the sun!
This jellyfish dish is pretty simple to prepare and is really very tasty and has a special textural crunch all of its own. It is especially good during the long hot months since this is a vinegary cold dish and therefore very cool and refreshing to the palate. You will need to go to the wet market to buy the jellyfish which are usually sold by some (not all) of the dried goods purveyors (selling dried shrimps, scallops, mushrooms, etc). Look for big plastic bags that have stacks of heavily salted whitish to brownish folded rubbery sheets inside. You could buy a bit more than you need for a meal as the jellyfish will keep in its salted condition. Once you have it home you need to rinse the salt off and cut it into 1/4 inch strands and then soak it in cool water overnight, changing the water until the taste of the jellyfish is not salty anymore (just bite a bit off the jelly to taste: it should taste neutral). After this point is reached the rest is easy, just a quick mix with the flavoring and into the fridge to chill until the rest of the dinner or lunch is ready. Yum, yum! It's really great as a refreshing pickled kind of small dish for your chinese dinner.
Jellyfish Salad Recipe
1/2 lb jellyfish, or 1/2 catty
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chopped chili peppers (optional)
Rinse the salt off the jellyfish and cut into long shreds of 1/4 inch thickness. Soak the jellyfish shreds in a large bowl filled with cool water over night, changing the water several times until the jellyfish tastes neutral. If in a hurry you may try changing the water very frequently for a couple of hours until the jellyfish tastes neutral. Drain out the water and put jelly fish back into the large bowl. Pour enough boiling water over jellyfish to cover and let sit for one minute. You will see the jellyfish contract therefore creating the lovely crunchiness. Drain and plunge into ice cold water to stop cooking. Once jellyfish is cool drain throughly. Add the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili peppers. Mix and taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary: it should have a balance of sweet, salty and sour. Cover and put in the fridge to chill and marinate until the rest of the dinner is ready. Just before serving give it a quick stir.