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Turtle with Ham and Web

Unusual Ingredients

Turtle with Ham and Web
2 turtles, about a pound each, shell discarded, internal organs removed
1 teaspoon corn oil
2 Tablespoons fresh shallots
2 slices fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
12 boneless chicken or duck webs
1 extra-large black mushroom, soaked in two cups warm water for half hour, stem discarded, one cup mushroom water reserved
1/4 pound Smithfield ham, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or Sichuan pepper
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon water
1. Cut legs off, and cut rest of the meat into pieces about no larger than two inches square.
2. Heat corn oil and fry shallots, ginger, and garlic until fragrant, then add wine, ham, and turtle meat and simmer for about five minutes, then drain and reserve.
3. Cut duck feet in half, then simmer in the remaining liquid for fifteen to twenty minutes.
4. Mix reserved mushroom water with salt and pepper.
5. Spread heat-proof bowl with the sesame oil, put mushroom at the bottom, then arrange larger pieces of ham, turtle, and duck feet one after another. Fill center with any remaining pieces and pack it down with your fingers, before pouring mushroom water over this, not disturbing the design made with the solid ingredients. Cover with parchment paper and set in a steamer over boiling water and steam for forty-five minutes.
6. Carefully pour liquid into a pot and bring to the boil with the cornstarch mixture, stirring until somewhat thickened.
7. Turn solid contents of the bowl carefully onto a platter, pour thickened liquid over it, and serve.
Note: If they can be located, use eight cooked turtle eggs cut in half, using them for decor, placing them around the dish.

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