Sea Cucumber with Beef-balls and Mushrooms
I introduced the rather exotic delicacy commonly known as Sea Cucumber not long ago and, in that post I detailed the somewhat lengthy process for rendering the dried product edible. Today’s dish, featuring an already reconstituted specimen, is a fairly commonplace preparation wherein the sliced flesh is braised with other ingredients; in this case, seasoned beef-balls and dried Chinese Black Mushrooms in a rich braising medium…
- 1 Medium Sea Cucumber, reconstituted;
- 4 Medium dried Chinese Black Mushrooms, reconstituted;
- 1/2lb ground Beef;
- 1 Scallion, finely chopped;
- 1 tbsp. minced Ginger;
- 1 pinch each Salt and Pepper;
- 1 tsp. minced Garlic;
- 2 cups Chicken Stock;
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce;
- 3 tbsp. Sugar;
- 2 tbsp. Shaoxing Wine;
- 1 – 2 tsp. Cornstarch mixed to a slurry in Water;
First, mix together the ground beef, scallion, ginger, salt and pepper and form small, walnut sized balls.
Pan-fry, or deep-fry the balls until they have a nice browning and set them aside. They do not need to be fully cooked all the way through at this point as they will be further cooked in the braising liquid a little later.
Remove the stems from the soaked mushrooms and slice the caps into thin strips. Next, slice the sea cucumber into two along the length and then cut each piece horizontally into thin pieces.
Heat a tablespoon of either cooking oil or (better still) pork lard in a pan over moderate heat and sauté the sea cucumber pieces. When they take on a little color, stir in the garlic and toss until the aroma rises.
Add the mushrooms, stock, soy sauce, sugar and rice wine and when the pan begins to boil, turn down the heat to low.
Simmer the dish until the liquid has reduced by about half and then add in the meatballs. Continue to cook until the meatballs are cooked through and then turn up the heat. When everything starts to boil, thicken with the cornstarch mixture and remove from the heat. Plate, garnishing with some sliced scallion if desired, and serve hot.
I tasted the braising liquid just a few minutes after it started to simmer and I was afraid that I might have used a bit too much sugar and soy sauce given I was going to reduce the liquid volume by a half. As it was though, the sauce turned out very nicely indeed and my wife commented on it especially. Also, from past experience, I know that it is sometimes tricky soaking and then cooking the sea cucumber to get the best texture but, here, the result was just the way I like it…