Chow Hoy Shin

Today’s post represents an attempt to reproduce a particular ‘Canadian-Chinese’ dish… Half a lifetime ago, I used to eat at a Chinese restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and I often enjoyed a selection they called ‘Chow Hoy Shin’. I once asked a Cantonese friend of mine what the name meant (assuming it to be something exotic and poetic) but she just shrugged and said ‘stir-fried seafood’. Well, the beauty of that name, from the cook’s perspective, is that you can add pretty much anything you like in there and cook it almost any style as long as stir-frying is involved at some point…

Today, I had scallops and shrimp on hand that were in danger of getting a bit past it in my freezer. The restaurant in Fredericton used to add chunks of lobster claw in their version, I seem to recall, but I have none to use at present. Like the restaurant, though, I am adding a fair amount of vegetable for bulk and lots of sauce. I doubt I’ll reproduce the original exactly but it is still a tribute of sorts…


The Ingredients

  • 1/2lb. Scallops;
  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined;
  • 1 medium carrot;
  • 1 large stalk Celery;
  • 1 small onion, sliced lengthwise into wedges;
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded Ginger;
  • ½ cup Chicken stock;
  • 2 Tbsp. Rice Wine;
  • 1 Tbsp. Light Soy Sauce;
  • 1 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
  • 1 tsp. Cornstarch mixed to a slurry with a little water.


If your scallops are very large, slice them cross-wise into two or three thinner pieces. Then, slice both the carrot and the celery horizontally on the bias. For best results, you should blanch these vegetables in boiling salted water for a minute or so and then refresh in cold water. This will reduce the frying time and preserve the bright colors.


Mix together the stock, soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce and cornstarch slurry in a small bowl and set aside for now.


When you are ready to cook, heat a little oil in a pan over moderate high heat and quickly saute the shrimp until pink. Add the scallops and continue to stir fry until they become opaque and then remove the seafood to a bowl.


If necessary, replenish the oil in the cooking pan and add the ginger followed by the carrot. Stir-fry for a minute or two until you can smell the ginger and the carrots are beginning to soften, then add the celery and onion. Continue to toss and stir until the onion pieces are just showing signs of becoming translucent.


Finally, add back the seafood and stir in the sauce. Allow it to come to a boil so that the sauce clears and thickens. Serve immediately.


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