Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss and Roast Pork 髮菜蠔豉燜燒肉
By Ellen L.Published: 2015-03-5
First of all let me greet you with this hearty Chinese New Year Greeting: Wishing you Prosperity and Good Fortune! 祝你好市發財! And now let me invite you to eat that exact same greeting! Whaaat, you're probably thinking, she's too much in the kitchen and has finally gone nutso!! Wait...what I really mean is let me invite you to feast on the very traditional and very fabulous Chinese New Year's dish of Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss and Roast Pork, or 髮菜蠔豉燜燒肉. The Chinese characters for dried oysters and sea moss is 蠔豉髮菜 which sounds almost exactly like 好市發財 which means Prosperity and Good Fortune. Thus, through this auspicious twist of words, you can actually feast on a savory dish of Prosperity and Good Fortune to start off the New Year of the Sheep! And, indeed, what better way to start off the Chinese New Year than to partake of this intriguingly mysterious yet surpassingly yummilicious combination of unique Chinese ingredients that is the Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss and Roast Pork!
These strange looking critters are Chinese Dried Oysters, a delicacy caught from the sea and sun dried to a very concentrated, chewy, intense oystery essence. If you're expecting these dried oysters to taste like fresh oysters, you will be disappointed at first. It tastes very different. But as you explore the rich, complex flavors your tongue will begin to trace the connection back to the taste of fresh oysters.
You can buy dried oysters in Hong Kong at the dried goods or the preserved meats vendors at the local wet markets. When choosing oysters, those that come from Japan and Korea are supposed to be better and are priced accordingly. Colors will vary from yellow to reddish to greenish. We went for the Guangdong sun dried oysters, which are a bit cheaper and can be just as tasty if you choose carefully. You'll want to look for plump, fresh looking oysters that are still pliable and not hard. Sniff the oysters for any stale oil or off smell. Make sure it is sun dried from fresh oyster, not dried cooked oysters.
Dried Oysters is also awesome for adding flavor layers to a deliciously warming pot of Chinese Congee 粥!
The Black Sea Moss is also known as Fat Choy, Fa Cai and Hair Moss. The Chinese name of '髮菜' literally translates to mean 'Hair Vegetable'. The reason is that when this vegetable is cooked it really looks like long shiny black hair. The very first time I ever ate Black Sea Moss I really thought that we were eating hair! (I was still little then, what can I say?) Black Sea Moss has a bland taste but readily absorbs flavors and thus is perfect to use as a texture complement in a braised dish.
When buying be forewarned that real Black Sea Moss is limited in supply and hard to come by and thus this moss infamously has many counterfeits on the market. Go to a reputable dealer that you know and trust. Test your moss by soaking a small section in water to see if water turns murky and your hair moss turns reddish. If reddish, that means it's been dyed black. Fascinatingly enough, apparently the fake moss is made using corn silk, which sounds kinda delicious as well to me!
This is my favorite part of this dish, the Cantonese style Roast Pork! To me the roast pork is the most delectable part of this truly yummilicious dish. Fat is flavor, and the fat of the pork melds into and boosts the flavor of all the other ingredients, as well as helping to create a thick, gorgeous, shiny sauce. I really think this is the secret key to this making this feast dish.
You can buy this roast pork at any Cantonese style barbecued meats shop, also known as Siu Mei shop or 燒味舖. Look for fresh juicy meat and very crispy skin. Ask for a slice of the belly where the meat and the fat will be in good proportion for this dish. Ask them to chop up the meat for you into the usual sizes. Yumm! I cannot stop stuffing these lusciously melty roast pork pieces into my mouth! Nom, nom, nom! Yiks...must remind myself (again!) to not be so greedy and leave some roast pork pieces for my 老公 and my little girl!
This Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss and Roast Pork is a gorgeously yummy, very rich, fatty, decadent diva of a feast dish. But why not indulge yourself, it's only once a year that Chinese New Year comes and what better to dish to feast upon than a yummilicious bowl of Prosperity and Good Fortune! 祝你好市發財!
Reminder to all: Our free Chinese Feasts and Festival cookbook giveaway ends on March 8! You still have time to enter the giveaway, so check out the details at bottom of our post on Homemade Chinese Pork Jerky Bakkwa!
Braised Dried Oysters with Black Sea Moss and Roast Pork Recipe 髮菜蠔豉燜燒肉
12 dried mushrooms
1-1 1/2 cups Black Sea Moss 髮菜
12-15 dried oysters 蠔豉
500 g cantonese style roasted pork, chopped into approx 2" by 1" pieces
5 slices ginger, quarter sized
3-4 spring onions, chopped to 2" lengths
1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup reserved mushroom soaking water
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp potato starch (or cornstarch)
2 tsp sesame oil
Black Sea Moss prep and marinade:
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp potato starch, or corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp oil
Dried Oysters marinade:
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ginger juice
1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
1 tsp potato starch (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp oil
Soak dried mushrooms in warm water 4-5 hours until soft. Reserve mushroom soaking water.
Soak the black sea moss in cold water for 2 hours. Lift the moss out of water and discard water and any sand. Add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp potato starch to moss and rub through the moss to clean it. Rinse the moss in water several times, getting rid of all sand and then squeeze dry. Add salt, sugar, rice wine, stock and oil to moss and stir to mix. Put into porcelain bowl, then cover over with a plate and steam over medium heat for 1/2 hour. Set aside to cool.
Soak oysters in cold water for half hour. Under hot running water, rub the oysters thoroughly with fingers to remove any grit and any oil on surface. Marinate in a bowl for 20 mins with salt, sugar, ginger juice, rice wine, starch and oil.
|After a long braise|
Place a flat plate to completely cover your bowl and carefully flip over. Remove the bowl and you should have a lovely mound with oysters on top and black sea moss on the bottom. Pour over the reduced sauce and serve hot. Enjoy! Happy Chinese New Year's Feast!
More Chinese New Year Feast recipes at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Chinese New Year Radish Cake Recipe - Chinese Comfort Food
Buddha's Delight | Luohan Zhai 羅漢齋
Potsticker Pork Dumplings 鍋貼