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Sea Cucumber with Meat Sauce

Unusual Ingredients

Sea Cucumber with Meat Sauce
1 large or 2 small dried sea cucumbers
8 scallions, six tied into knots, two cut into one-inch pieces
2 large pieces of fresh ginger, one sliced thinly, the other crushed with the side of a cleaver
1 pound belly pork, cut into eight pieces
1 pork bone
2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Chinese sweet flour sauce
6 large Chinese black mushrooms, soaked one hour, stems removed and discarded, the caps quartered
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (eight and a half ounces) sliced bamboo shoots, drained
2 Tablespoons rendered chicken fat
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons of cold water
1. Soak sea cucumber(s) for twenty-four hours, changing the water three of four times, then put them into a large pot, cover with two quarts of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for three hours or until they are soft.
2. Remove sea cucumber(s) from the pot and remove and discard the innards. Discard the water, and soak the sea cucumber(s) in cold water for one hour. Then cut into half-to one-inch pieces.
3. Put sea cucumber pieces back into the pot, pour two quarts of boiling water on the pieces and add the scallion knots and crushed ginger, the pieces of pork belly, and the pork bone, and simmer everything uncovered for one hour. Allow everything to cool in the pot, and when cool, discard the scallion knots and the ginger, and remove the pork belly and cut into small cubes. Remove any meat from the bone and cut them into small pieces. Put then into the pot, add the soy sauce, sweet flour sauce, and the rice wine, and one cup of water and simmer for half an hour before returning the sea cucumber pieces. Simmer everything together another half hour stirring every ten minutes.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a small wok or fry pan, add the ginger slices, scallion pieces, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the chicken fat, stir well, and put this mixture into the pot with the sea cucumber mixture.
5. Bring all to the boil, add the cornstarch mixture, and stir until thickened before pouring everything into a deep bowl. Serve.

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