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Bird's Nest Recipes

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Unusual Ingredients

Winter Volume: 2008 Issue: 15(4) page(s): 18 and 19

Here are some additional bird's nest recipes, as promised. Considering the hefty price of these esteemed textural treats, we are fascinated that so many readers want to cook them. A few even called requesting them sooner, and by fax. We wonder if they make them or just want to read them. Do advise.

Remember, bird's nests are best soaked overnight in cold water, then drained and tossed with a quarter of a teaspoon of vegetable oil before using them in these or any other recipes.
Bird's Nest Soup II
6 Tablespoons pre-soaked bird's nest
1 quart chicken stock
3 slices fresh ginger
dash of ground white pepper
1/2 cup boneless chicken breast, minced fine
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon cold water
2 Tablespoons Yunnan or Smithfield ham, minced
1. Put bird's nest, chicken stock, ginger, white pepper, and the chicken breast in a large bowl and steam over rapidly boiling water for forty-five minutes.
2. Put chicken stock mixture in a three quart pot and add the egg white and the cornstarch mixture and stir well as this is brought to the boil. Add the ham and simmer for five minutes, then serve.
Fancy Fish Balls
1/4 pound Chinese spinach
1/4 pound boneless and skinless flounder fillets, minced
1/4 pound peeled deveined shrimp meat, minced
4 Tablespoons soaked birds nest pieces, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon low sodium chicken bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Steam spinach for three minutes, drain, and set on a pre-heated platter.
2. Mix minced fish and shrimp and form into one-inch balls.
3. Wet the mixed seafood balls and roll them in the pieces of bird's nest, then steam them over boiling water for five minutes.
4. Mix bouillon powder, sugar, slat, and cornstarch with half cup of cool water. Bring to the boil, and when it thickens, put fish balls on the spinach and pour this clear sauce over the fancy fish balls. Serve.
Bird's Nest, Chicken, and Tofu
3 Tablespoons soaked bird’s nest pieces, coarsely chopped
2 egg whites, whipped until firm
1/4 pound chicken, white meat only, minced
1/2 pound soft bean curd, mashed
1/4 teaspoon low sodium chicken bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock or water
4 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with the same amount of cold water
1 sprig fresh coriander, coarsely minced
1. Set aside one tablespoon of the bird's nest pieces, and gently fold the rest of them with the egg whites, chicken, bean curd, bouillon powder, and the sugar until well mixed.
2. Oil the insides of four to six Chinese teacups and fill them with the egg white mixture. Steam these over rapidly boiling water for nine minutes, then turn the firmed mixture out on a serving platter.
3. Bring chicken stock and the cornstarch mixture to the boil, and when thickened, pour over the unmolded bird's nest mixture.
4. Sprinkle the set aside bird's nest pieces and the coriander on top, and serve.
Bird's Nest Stew
1/2 cup dry bird’s nest, soaked overnight
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon minced Yunnan or Smithfield ham
3 Tablespoons bean spouts, tails removed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon rendered chicken fat
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with half-tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon minced fresh coriander leaves
1. Simmer bird’s nest in the chicken broth in a two-quart saucepan for ten minutes, then drain and set aside.
2. When ready to serve, return this to the saucepan and add the ham, bean sprouts, salt, and chicken fat and simmer for three minutes. Then add cornstarch mixture, bring to just below the boil, and pour into a deep bowl.
3. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve.

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