Fatt Tiew Cheong
Eating out on Mother's Day, Valentine's Day or any other special days that would really clean out your pocket is a definite No! No! for me. For the same amount I want to spend eating out on these days, I would gladly make an effort to cook an expensive delicacy right in the comfort of my own cosy kitchen. All you need is a packet of herbs from your nearby chinese herbal shop and some of your favourite expensive ingredients. I have a photograph of the herbs but I am not familiar with some of the names. Maybe you will know from the looks of it.
Bring 4.5 litres of filtered water to boil in a 5 litre soup pot. Rinse the herbs, 2 big dried scallops and 2 big dried oysters very briefly and drain. Add them into the boiling water and let it simmer for 1 hour. Next, wash and clean 4 pieces of chicken keel or chicken breast and blanche them in another pot of hot boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and add the chicken keel into the herbal soup pot and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours. Open the can of abalone (put abalone aside) and add the liquid from the can into the herbal pot. (I prefer to use chicken keel or breast for soup base mainly because it emits less impurities and I don't have to skim the soup). Also note, when making clear soup or stock, always simmer and never boil profusely cos that will make the liquid murky.
My favourite ingredients for this dish is a can of abalone (sliced thinly), 5 large whole dried shiitake mushrooms (pre-soaked in hot water, stem cut), 5 small chicken drumsticks, fried fish maw (bite size pieces), snow fungus (bite size pieces), 1 carrot (sliced and cut into the shape of stars, boiled in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained), 1 packet of brown shimeji mushrooms (cleaned and roots trimmed), 1 packet enoki (cleaned and roots trimmed), sea moss (fatt choy - pre-soaked in water).
20 minutes before the soup is ready, discard the chicken keel, then add in the mushrooms and chicken drumsticks. Continue to simmer. 5 minutes before the soup is ready, put in the fish maw, snow fungus, shimeji mushrooms, enoki, carrots and 1 cup of Shao Hsin fragrant wine. Soup is ready and notice I did not add any salt, very tasty! Decorate the serving bowl with all the goodies from the pot, add sea moss, sliced abalone and top up with this delicious soup. This recipe serves 5 -6 persons.