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Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Shark's Fin, Fish Maw

by: Chiu-Fai Tsoi

Hong Kong China: Hai Bin Book Company 2007, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-988-202-476-2

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2008 Issue: 15(4) page(s): 21

This book with its internal spiral, is one in a series. We have only located two of them, to date. It is about the luxury ingredients in its title that the Chinese adore. Each one is explained in detail by its master chef author. Included are seventy-five recipes, loads of color photographs, instructions on how to purchase and rehydrate dried ones, and terminology specific to them.

This book does a phenomenal job of explaining the many different types, showing pictures of them, and telling the country they come from. Also included is how to soak them, dress them, and prepare them. Explanations include the number of 'heads' relating to the size per catty, simmering particulars, and tips from the chef.

The recipes are carefully constructed and detailed, each one has one or more tips from the chef, and a color photograph of the completed dish; they seem to urge a trip to the kitchen. A few also have a couple of smaller pictures of steps in the preparation. Many are unusual, as are the shrimp balls rolled in diced fish maw.

After the recipes, some additional instructions about making premium stock from regular stock, and other soup bases such as ones from seafood and fish. How to deep fry egg shreds, simmer goose webs, prepare ground dried fish, mash winter melon, make almond milk, etc.
Shrimp Balls with Fish Maw
1/4 ounce re-hydrated fish maw, diced
1/4 pound peeled shrimp, veins removed, and minced fine
1 egg white
1/2 Tablespoon minced carrot
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon cold water
1. Blanch fish maw for half minute, then drain, and set aside to cool.
2. Divide shrimp into eight parts, and roll each part into a ball. Then roll them into the cooled fish maw to coat them.
3. Steam over rapidly boiling water for four minutes, then remove to small serving bowl.
4. Mix stock and egg white, bring to a boul and immediately add sugar, salt, white pepper, and cornstarch mixture. Stir until slightly thickened, about one minute, then pour over the shrimp balls, and serve.

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