I have been very behind in blogging, but I had worked hard these few days, in order to prepare for this delicious and nutritious dish. It is my pleasure today to introduce to you a special ingredient: fish maw. So, what is fish maw?
Fish maw is one of the precious traditional Chinese ingredients which are highly rated due to its high nutritional value. Many Asians believe that it is particularly good for skin care. A former colleague in Hong Kong has become a Chinese Herbalist. One time when I saw her, I asked her what should women eat in order to be healthy all year-long. She said “Fish Maw”. Here we are. Let me share with you my experience in preparing and cooking fish maw.
The most important step of cooking fish maw is the washing and pre-soaking process.
I bought this bag of fish maw from a Chinatown grocery store. It is like this as in the picture below.
Pre-cooking and pre soaking the fish maw:
- Boil a big pot of water.
- Pour the fish maw into the hot water; add four pieces of ginger and two long pieces of green union.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid.
4. A few hours later, after the water has cooled down, take the fish maw out and rinse/wash it under cold tap water. By this time, the fish maw is a bit tender already.
5. Put the fish maw back to the pot and refrigerate it overnight for 10 to 12 hours.
6. The next day when you take it out, you will find the fish maw a bit harder and thicker. Don’t be nervous. After you have cooked it, it will become tender again. The soaking and refrigeration process is to allow the fish maw to continue to “grow” and maximize its ability to thicken.
7. Cut the fish maw into smaller pieces.
Now we are ready to cook. There are many recipes using fish maw. I have eaten different fish maw dishes in restaurants. The fish maw is usually in small quantity together with other ingredients like mushrooms, abalone etc., because it is quite expensive. This time, I would like to introduce a simple dish to make it easier for you.
Ingredients for Cooking:
About three ounces of pre-soaked fish maw. It can be one big piece of fish maw or several smaller pieces depending on the type of fish maw you use.
Four cloves of garlic
Two pieces of ginger
Chicken Broth : two cups (I use the organic chicken broth from Costco, but you can cook your own chicken broth).
Starch and water: about one teaspoon of starch and 1/2 cup of water.
Wine (best with ginger wine)
One tablespoon of “Hoi Sin Sauce”
One tablespoon of “Bean Sauce”
One teaspoon of light soya sauce
A dash of black pepper
If you like a hotter taste, add some XO Sauce with dried scallops.
A tablespoon of sesame oil
Into a chinese wok, add two tablespoons of oil (I use either organic coconut oil or organic avocado oil, which are more suitable for high heat cooking.
Add the four cloves of garlic and fry them till they become golden brown. Then take the garlic out but leave the oil in the wok.
Add ginger, fish maw, hoi sin sauce, bean sauce, soya sauce (light), black pepper, and the four cloves of garlic back into the mixture. Stir fry.
Add wine, sesame oil, and finally the corn starch mixture. Stir fry till the mixture boils.
If you like a darker color, add a tablespoon of dark soya sauce.
Stir fry till the mixture boils.
I added a few pieces of Chinese vegetables (choi sum) around the plate to decorate and to eat!. The choi sum should be boiled in hot water before you start cooking the fish maw. Place them on a plate surrounding the fish maw. You can use other vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, Chinese pak choi sum, Chinese broccoli. You name it!
If you want to try a different recipe, add mushrooms or abalone or dried scallops. See my previous posts on these three items.
Please note that all the sauces mentioned here can be bought in a Chinese grocery store.
My final advice: Please be patient with this dish. There is no short cut. It may take you a few days to pre-soak the fish maw if they are thick and big.
I hope you will enoy this dish as much as I do. Happy cooking!