One of the delicacies in Chinese cooking are the range of dried seafoods that can either be cooked on its own or to enhance the flavours of the dish it is used in. Below are some of the cheaper ones. The more expensive ones are things like dried scallops, dried oysters, dried sharksfin, fish maw and etc.
Note that it is not advisable to take these preserved seafoods too often as it has been claimed to cause nose cancer. Moreover, most of them are loaded with a lot of salt and whatever is put in to preserve them. However, I don’t always use them in my cooking as the main ingredients. Usually, a piece or a handful are added for the flavours only.
This is the dried shrimp from Malaysia. Those from Thailand are usually more reddish and most stall owners here will advise us to buy the Malaysian ones eventhough they are more expensive. I too like to get this much whiter and bigger dried shrimps because they appears cleaner. I wonder how the Thai dried shrimps got their colour, from artificial colourings?
Dried fish. I am not sure what fish is this but the shop taukeh suggested to me to try these fishes. It is bundled and sold for RM2. He said it is tasty when deep fried. (will report on that after I cooked it)
White baits. These are tiny little fish that almost look like little maggots. I like to cook it in soup, steam with eggs or stir fry vegetables with them. Remember to soak them for a while because they are usually very salty.
Anchovies. Again, anchovies come in many grades. Find one which looks whitish instead of yellowish. Usually, the most expensive variety. I prefer these split ones as I don’t have to deal with the bones, heads and dark coloured guts. There are bones still intact so it is still a good source of calcium.
I do not encourage mothers to feed their babies with dried seafood porridges. Not even dried scallop as the babies will tend to develop a picky taste buds and demand only very flavourful foods. However, I did soak some of these anchovies, dried it, slow bake them in the oven and pound into powdered form. If my baby refused the bland vegetable porridge I prepared, I will sprinkle some of these anchovies powder. It has a lot of calcium and make the child eat more. But remember, don’t make it habit as they are not entirely healthy.
I have another batch of seafoods but I shall continue in the next post.