To Prepare Sea Cucumber Before Coooking
Known as " bêcher-de-mer " in French or the not so appetizing name " sea rat " or " sea slug ",
the sea cucumber prized for its gelatinous texture has been a delicacy in Chinese cuisine since ancient times,
often served in Chinese banquets, among other revered dishes such as the shark's fin soup. It's not a vegetable,
but a marine animal that is soft and cylindrical, resembles a cucumber and hence the name.
In Chinese, the sea cucumber is called "Hai Sen" or "sea ginseng" is a
"yang" or "heaty" food, reputed to be a general tonic and aphrodisiac. Rich in iron and
contains minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc, the sea cucumber has been known to help
ease arthritis pain and relief joints discomfort..
Often sold in dried hard form, preparing dried sea cucumber can be time
consuming and requires a lot of work. After removing the skin, you have to reconstitute it
in water which is drained daily for 4 days, occasionally wash it under running water, boil
it with slices or ginger or pineapple skin in between to remove the “fishy” odor, so that
it expands to several times its original size and becomes soft again. Drain and keep in the
refrigerator until ready to use. Not prepared properly, it can have a rubbery-tough-to-chew
texture that can be unappealing and taste wrong. As for fresh sea cucumber, expanded and
sold soaked in water, which can sometimes be found in Chinese markets, needs only a rinse
and boil the same way described above. The best kind of fresh sea cucumber is black in
color, with smooth surface and fine gloss.
The sea cucumber can be cooked in many ways - stewed with ribs, stir fried in black pepper sauce, or boiled in
chicken stocks . The rather bland tasting sea cucumber has the ability to absorb and accentuate the flavors of the
ingredients in which it is cooked with and is best cooked in rich broth. The feeling of succulent jelly-like
texture of sea cucumber infused with the flavorful stock in your mouth is a must for food
by Kelvin Too 07-07-2010