Marine products are the most common precious food in the Chinese New Year. It is made of dried and dehydrated seafood, which is a kind of dry food of high price. Known as the "4 great seafood", abalone, sea cucumber, shark fin and Juajiao (fish maw) are the top delicacies in Chinese cuisine. When people buy expensive seafood, they are often confused by the abundance of inferior or fake seafood on the market, and may not even know what they are paying for. Now we will teach you how to identify the quality of seafood. You can be based on their own economic ability, to be a smart smart consumer.
Dried oyster is called "haoshi" in Cantonese. The pronunciation symbolizes good fortune. It is an essential ingredient in Cantonese cuisine. The dried oyster market is dominated by Korean and Japanese products, while Chinese products are not popular. Korean and Japanese dried oyster is only steamed and dried to retain all the essence, while Chinese dried oyster extracts oyster juice, and makes oyster essence into oyster sauce after boiling.
"Korean dried oysters have an oily sheen on the surface, while Chinese dried oysters lose their luster because they don't retain the essence."
When you buy them, do not choose oysters that is too dry. They will lack an aroma.
At the same time, the oyster must be soaked in water. It can be twice the original size. If the soaking is not enough, its core will be very hard.
Scallops, also known as “Yaozhu”, are dried products of scallops. When you stewed, making soup or broth, put only one or two scallops to improve the flavor, and the soup will become fresh and sweet.
Often, people buy fake scallops that taste too tough, rubbery and without sweet taste. The fake scallops are made from the molds of shark meat. When it is cooked for too long, the whole scallop melts.
Scallops on the market are divided into two categories: Japanese and Chinese. Those from Hokkaido and Souya are the best. It is an essential ingredient of assorted Yipin pot or Fotiaoqiang.
Scallops from Fuzhou, Dailian and Shandong province are smaller, light yellow in color, diameter 1 to 1.5cm. The biggest Shandong scallop could be 2 cm in diameter. Compared with its Japanese counterpart, Chinese scallops are cheaper, less sweet and with some stinky smell.
Fish swim bladder
Swim bladder is an air bag in fish body. It is also called fish maw.
There are fish swim bladder after oil frying in the market. They cannot be stored for a long time, as they have bad smell of oil.
Huajiao and fish swim bladder are both air bags of fishes. Their processing methods are different. Swim bladder could be an ingredient after soaking in water, soften and heated. Huajiao must be stewed.
Sea cucumber contains rich collagen, low in fat and cholesterol. It is fresh and chewy. It is healthy, high class delicacy. Sea cucumber from Japan is of the highest grade. Each dried sea cucumber could be soaked in water and become 3 to 4 times of its original size.
Soaking sea cucumber at your home
It is not advisable to buy sea cucumber that is pre-soaked. They are of lower prices, but merchants may put in leavening agent, or they may weigh it with water. Customers will pay 20% more for the sea cucumber.
“Sea cucumber with leavening agent has a smell of chemicals. When you wash them, there will be bubbles. They will be broken when being boiled.”
Many people may think that cooking dried sea cucumber is troublesome. If you do something wrong, the precious sea cucumber will be of no use. So they buy pre-soaked sea cucumber. Now we will teach you the right way to soak dried sea cucumber.
First, soak sea cucumber in water for 1 hour. Wash away sand on the surface. Put water into the pot to cover the sea cucumber surface. Cover the pot, boil for 1 hour. Let it rest overnight. On the second day, remove soften internal organs of the sea cucumber. Wash it and boil it for 5 minutes. Let it rest overnight. On the third day, boil it for 5 minutes and let it rest overnight. On the fourth day, put it into the refrigerator to preserve it.