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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Braised seafood potluck with jasmine tea

Can't make up your mind what to eat? Here's a pot of a bit of everything.
When you are the chef for two reunion dinners back to back, a crockpot full of  seafood  is sure to wow your guests  with a seemingly difficult dish to cook as well as reduce the work for one of the most elaborate dinners of the year.

The pork rib is the odd-one-out item in this dish but it helps to create a strong and robust presence. So too the mushrooms, though I recommend soaking it overnight to rid it of  any earthy smell. Chestnuts are here to give some fancy carbohydrates. Here, I give credit to hubby and daughter for spending half the night skinning a bag of fresh chestnuts. I would never attempt such dexterous job.

 Jasmine tea brings out the sweetness of seafood -  sea cucumber, fish maw and oyster. To fully eradicate whatever smell the sea cucumber might have, I scalded it with a pot of hot jasmine tea infused with ginger.

Layer the items, the most robust being at the bottom of the crockpot. Take care not to overcook or else the sea cucumber, pig skin and fish maw will become indistinguishable.

Seafood pot ingredients :

500 g Pork ribs 
2 big sea cucumber, cut to chunks and scalded with jasmine  and ginger  tea
2 cups presoaked shitake mushrooms
1 bag Fish maw, scalded and cut to chunks ( about  2 cups )
1 bag deep fried pig skin, scalded and cut to chunks ( about 2 cups )
200 g chestnut, shelled
1/2 cup dried oyster , scallops

1/4 black soy sauce
3 tabs oyster sauce
Tea bag :

1 jasmine green tea bag
3 slices ginger

Making the Tea brine :

Boil 1 soup bowl of water. Add teabag , ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce and infuse for 30 minutes.

Scald maw and pig skin with boiling water to remove excess oil. Drain and cut maw and skin to bite size.

In a slow cooker, layer the ingredients in this order , from the bottom to the top : Mushroom, pork ribs, dried oysters, dried scallops. Pour tea brine excluding teabag over the ingredients. Set heat to high.

After one hour of cooking, in this order, add chestnuts, sea cucumber, pig skin, fish maw . Set heat to auto cook.

After 1 hour, lightly toss the ingredients to mix well. Turn off the heat. Serve directly from the crockpot . Garnish with parsley.

Variation :

Add tea-leaf quail eggs  and baby abalone just before serving.

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