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sea cucumbers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was walking through china town the other day and came across this ugly looking black thing called a sea cucumber. I had seen them in the ocean in southeast asia but didn't know they were edible. Has anyone prepared this item before? What do you do to it? What does it taste like? What's the texture? Whta is traditionally done to it?
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #2 of 12
These are very common in Chinese cooking, especially Cantonese. I was at a banquet the other day and sea cucumbers were served with dried shitaki mushrooms and mustard greens in some kind of gelatinous goop.

I do not care for the texture of sea cucumbers. I'm trying to think of what you can compare it to but I'm coming up blank. It's kinda mushy with not much taste. Like chiken feet or jelly fish, it is really a vehicle for the sauce which in this case was very tasty. I just ate the mustard greens.

I don't know how it is prepared and don't much want to either. It's an acquired taste I think.

Jock
post #3 of 12
To prepare the sea cucumber after it is collected, the internal organs are removed, and dirt and sand are washed out of the cavity. It is then boiled in salty water and dried in the air to preserve it. When readied for use in making food, it is softened in warm water and then boiled. Like tofu, sea cucumber is flavorless, but has the ability to soak up the flavors of foods and seasonings it is cooked with. I made the following recipe while I was in China but you can just prepare it like I mentioned and use it in a soup or a stir-fry.
The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea Gambolling Around the Arhat
Ingredients:

1. Cooked Chicken breast 300g
2. Soaked shark fin 100g
3. Sea cucumber 100g
4. Abalone 100g
5. Fishbone 100g*
6. Fish maw 100g**
7. Shrimp 100g
8. Ham 100g
9. Asparagus 50g
10. Fish meat (white fish, preferably Chinese white croaker) 250g
11. Cooking wine 50g
12. Some chicken broth, some ginger, leaves of greens, and some cooked lard.

Directions:
Note: The ingredients must be laid out separately in a pot or dish in eight sections. The chicken representing Arhat is placed in the center, and covered with slices of ham, ginger, and greens).

1. Mince half (150 g) of the chicken breast into a fine paste. Use part of the paste to lay out on the bottom of a pot or dish to form Arhat's cushion. Cut the rest of the chicken into bars.
2. Cut the white fish into bars and sandwich the fishbone in each.
3. Arrange the shrimps in a ring.
4. Form the shape of chrysanthemum with the shark fin and the chicken paste.
5. Shape the sea cucumbers like butterflies.
6. Pick out eight pieces of asparagus.
7. Arrange all the ingredients in the pot as described above.
7. Season the materials above with salt, MSG (if desired), and Shao Xing Chew (a cooking wine) and steam.
8. Pour hot chicken broth and hot lard over the ingredients and serve hot.

*Fish bone is a kind of fish glue abstracted from fishbones and scales of sharks or croakers by braising. In fact, it is a clear jelly.
** Fish maw is the air-bladder of certain types of fish. It must be soaked in water before being cooked.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just don't know what to say about that dish. It sounds very interesting and would like to know the history of it. I don't think that is my style of food though. It sounds like Escoffier meets I Yin in Lu Shih Chhun Chhiu.
Do the sea cucumbers have to be dried? Can I use them fresh?
thank you very much for the information.
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #5 of 12

Escoffier meets I Yin in Lu Shih Chhun Chhiu.

According to an old Chinese legend, there once lived eight individuals who had done enough good deeds to allow them to become immortal. First, however, they had to pass a test by overcoming several obstacles put forth by the devils in the East Sea. The eight individuals struggled to swim across the sea in the company of an Arhat or Buddhist saint, each showing off feats of strength and in the end becoming immortal. An un-named Chinese chef decided to create a dish with eight ingredients representing the eight immortals:

Yes you can use them fresh as well, you just want to clean it out first. It was on an episode of Iron chef once. I think it was in September.

Try this one.

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~ocshh/recipe_April.html
post #6 of 12
Oh! i love eating sea cucumbers! one of my faves! :p

Here we usually braise it in soy sauce and pork with black mushrooms during chinese new year :). Or another common style of cooking it here would be to stir fry/ braise it in oyster sauce, with shittake mushrooms and broccoli as well as bean curd sheets. They also include some "hairy moss", or "fatt choy" in that one too.

If it's sold dry, i think u'll have to rehydrate it overnight in water till it sorta doubles its original size. Then u'll need to remove its guts, if it isn't already removed. After doing that, u'll have to boil it for a while before using it. Some of them are sold rehydrated already here.

Usually the cheaper ones taste chalky and sandy. The more expensive ones are fine, sluggy and...delicious! hehehe :D
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
How do u clean them out? Do you slice in 1/2 or do you use a channel knife? What's the best method?
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
Reply
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #8 of 12
U Could use a small sharp knife to slit the belly/ underside of the slug and dig out its guts. Dun cut the slug in half (longside). Before cooking, cut it in pieces, like small tubes, about 1.5 inches in length, depending on ur liking (because they usually eat it with chopsticks). ;)

I think i'm gonna have some next week. :D - (granpa's b'day) hehehe
post #9 of 12

Sorry, wrong procedure

Sorry for the wrong procedure mentioned.

I asked my mum. There's no boiling of the slug.
After it's expanded and gutted, soak it in water tht's off boil. It shouldn't be too hot. Soak it till the water's cool enough to put ur hand in.
Then u're all ready to use it. Or rather it's all ready to be used. :)
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks wuzzo really appreciate all the information
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
Reply
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #11 of 12
I've only had it once. In a Korean restaurant. I agree that there wasn't much there as far as flavor but I thought the texture was horrible. It was like eating a slippery, somewhat tenderized piece of rubber. The sauce it was in was good though. Maybe it wasn't cooked right, I don't know anything about it, but it would take some pretty strong convincing to get me to try it again and I'm pretty brave about trying things.
post #12 of 12
I keep a marine aquarium. I had a cuke in it for a year or two. I'm sorry, and I have a liberal palate, but the idea grosses me out.:eek:

Tony
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