Fusion, when elements of at least two things come together and form a single entity. My family is a fusion of culture on many levels. My great-grandfather emigrated from China in the mid-1900s leaving behind his wife and children for a foreign land called Canada in hopes to provide a better future for them. Eventually, he helped my grandfather move to Canada and the Chong clan started to grow here in downtown Toronto.
I’m opening up a new recipe section specifically dedicated to Chinese-Canadian recipes and stories about being a Chinese-Canadian family in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Come and join me on this storytelling journey spanning over 60 years and 4 generations of a Chinese immigrant family trying to make a life in Toronto, Canada.
In light of the upcoming celebrations for Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year to be politically correct, I’ve teamed up with Lee Kum Kee to make a couple of dishes that are very traditional in my family.
A dish in Chinese tradition isn’t just a plate of food; it is a representation of the good fortune for the year to come. There is a reason that families of Asian descent would spend weeks in preparation decorating the home, preparing ingredients for the massive feast and handing out gifts to family and friends. It is ingrained in Asian culture that hard work will reap good results and having it show in the food is integral for a good year.
Today I will be showing you a recipe which is a labour of love and the taste definitely reflects that. I have prepared for you today, braised abalone and shiitake mushrooms over fresh baby bok choy.
This dish has many versions that can be found across Chinese restaurants, but the flavours of the oyster sauce and soy sauce stays common in most of them. The abalone I used today was a frozen kind on the shell. These on-shell kind are preferable so that you can infuse the flavours into the abalone during the cooking process and not have to worry about any canning taste to the meat.
Even though astrological horoscopes hold nothing more than a grain of salt for me, I find them interesting to read. Apparently with the coming year of the Sheep, we have a year that will foster closer relationships with our loved ones and creativity. I can’t wait to see what this year brings and I’m definitely blogging about my experiences here.
- 5 Small Fresh Frozen Abalone
- 1 lb of baby bok choy
- ⅓ lb dried shitake mushroom
- 1 Medium carrot thinly sliced in ⅛ inch thick slices
- 1 tbsp LKK Premium Soy Sauce
- 4 tbsp LKK Premium Oyster Flavour sauce
- 3 ½ cup chicken stock prepared with LKK Chicken Buillon Powder (1 Tbsp in 3 ½ cup boiling water)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ tsp LKK Roasted Sesame Oil
- 1 cup water
- 6 thin slices of ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Remove the abalone from the shell
- In a medium sized pot add 2 cups of chicken broth, white wine, ½ cup water, 3 tbsp LKK Premium Oyster Flavour sauce, Black Pepper, Ginger slices and 2 cloves of garlic smashed and skin removed. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the abalone and turn down heat to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for about 2 hours and check done-ness by pushing a knife through the thickest part of the abalone, if it goes through easily, it is done. If it is not done check back every 20 minutes until ready.
- When done remove abalone from the broth and place into a covered dish. Reserve ½ cup of the liquid for use in the next step.
- Soak the dried shitake for at least 2 hours in luke warm water.
- Remove the stems from the mushroom and clean
- Place the mushrooms in a small pot with the ½ cup of Abalone liquid from the first part along with another ½ cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. During the final 2 minutes throw in the carrot slices.
- Clean the Bok Choy and separate the leaves into individual pieces.
- In a heated wok add a couple tablespoon of oil, salt and ½ cup of water then throw in the bok choy and stir for about 2 minutes under high heat. The bok choy should still have good colour and still be a bit crunchy and not limp. Quickly poor out into a heat resistant strainer and allow to drain well.
- Now start assembling the dish for serving by placing the Bok Choy in centered pile and then distributing the mushrooms evenly over the top. Add the carrots strategically around the plate then do the same with the Abalone.
- Now prepare the sauce by heating the wok under medium high heat and add in the ½ cup Chicken Stock, remaining Mushroom and abalone sauce, the Oyster sauce and the soy sauce. Bring to a boil and make a cornstarch slurry by adding 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 3 tablespoon of water. Add this to the sauce and allow to thicken then add the Sesame oil and mix well then drizzle the sauce over the dish just until it is well covered. Serve hot for best results.
-The Piquey Eater