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We have reached day thirteen of this Jellyriffic competition.
The number 13, despite its unlucky omen in western culture is a number that is favourable in chinese culture. In Cantonese dialect, the pronunciation of these two number together is similar to the meaning of “being alive”, “living for the moment” or “to be born”.
Hence, it is an extremely good omen in chinese culture and the number 3 is favoured by the chinese people to signify “life”, “birth” and “good living”. It is the chinese equivalent of the Latin term “carpe diem” which means “seize the day”.
Our chinese heritage means that to eat well is to live well and living well is the cornerstone to a healthy and happy life. This is one of the important tenets of our blog’s philosophy since we started blogging six months ago. It is our aim capture meaningful moments where good food sustains our health and happiness so that we can share and blog about these moments with all our readers, families and friends.
Therefore, we are proud to introduce yet another major “Cuisine of the world” with a rich history etched over thousands of years.
Day 13: Entree – Jellyfish jelly with carrot and celery salad
This is a traditional chinese dish that is generally served chilled. Therefore, we believe serving this dish in a tender and chilled jelly form is not too far-fetched. More importantly, we wanted to create a modern version of a traditional and famous chinese dish where the exciting presentation appeals just as much as its taste and flavour.
Over the years in Sydney, we have prepared this beautiful dish for “lo sang” or the chinese ritual of tossing raw fish salad to bring forth prosperity and good fortune during chinese new year celebrations. Our version during the festive new year season is to bulk up the carrot and celery content of this dish so that all our family and friends can then toss and mix this beautiful salad before tucking in.
I find this to be one of the most beautiful cold jelly salads and defintely a favourite of mine for a nice summer day lunch. The crunchy jellyfish strands, carrot and celery shards are so refreshing against the chilled soft chicken slivers.
We loved this jellified version because the savoury and chilled chicken stock is so flavoursome with the nutty aromas of the sesame oil and it literally melts in the mouth!
Indeed, I think this jelly looks like a very unique species of jellyfish which you cannot find in the ocean. It only exist in my imagination and my kitchen.
Better still this is a simple recipe that involves little cooking. The only cooking required is to steam the chicken breast meat with a pinch of salt and white pepper.
We can conveniently buy ready-made packets of jelly fish which come in a few flavours from Asian grocers here in Sydney. I prefer the Feng Zheng brand as I find its quality to be better – the jellyfish strands are preserved in a briny liquid that keeps it fresh and crunchy.
The flavour that I recommend is “sesame chilli” flavour because it complements this particular recipe and it comes with a small packet of sesame oil and seasoning inside the packet.
1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery, stringed
1 packet of instant jelly fish
300gm chicken breast meat
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon gelatin powder
Pinch of salt and white pepper to taste
A few sprigs of shallots and coriander
1. Cut chicken breast lengthwise into smaller piece and gently steam until cooked, separate the juices of the chicken and set aside.
2. While the chicken is steaming, julienne the carrot, celery and shallots into very fine shards and place in a bowl of cold water to keep fresh.
3. Stir in 1 teaspoon of gelatin into half a cup of the chicken stock while it is still hot and set aside.
4. Rinse the cooked chicken breast in cold water to stop the cooking and hand-tear the meat into thin shreds then set aside.
5. The jellyfish is preserved in a briny liquid inside the packet. Discard the liquid and wash the jellyfish in plenty of cold water and cut into smaller pieces if necessary.
6.Stand the mould in a tall mug and arrange the shards of carrots and celery along the insides, fill the mould with a few pieces of jelly fish and chicken, then pour the stock to fill up the mould to the brim.
7. Stand the mould in the fridge for 5 – 6 hours until the contents is set and firm.
8. Empty the contents of the mould into the centre of a flat plate and garnish with shards of carrots, shallots, celery and corainder leaves.
9. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds over the salad with a dash of white pepper and a drizzle of sesame oil and serve the jelly chilled with a dry white wine.
Tips for this recipe:
1. The essence of this dish is sesame flavour. Therefore, the sesame seeds must be dried fried in a wok or pan until slightly brown and toasted to bring out its nutty flavours. Use 2 tablespoons of good sesame oil, a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkling of white pepper when dressing the salad to bring out the flavours of the vegetables and jelly.
2. Julienne the carrots and celery to very fine shards because it will provide a good crunchy texture against the soft jelly and chicken slivers.
3. Do not use too much gelatin because you want this jelly to melt in your mouth. I have mixed about 2 teaspoon of gelatin powder into hot chicken stock with a pinch of salt and white pepper and this stock tastes delicious.
4. Discard the liquid that comes with the jellyfish packet because it serves no taste or flavour. Always use the stock from steaming the chicken breast fillets because it is fresh and flavoursome with just a pinch of salt and white pepper.
5. If you cannot readily find jellyfish, you can use prawns as a substitute. Simply add a few raw prawns to the chicken breast fillets in the last 5 minutes. Then slice the cooked prawns into very thin strips lengthwise after they are cooked.
This dish always reminds me of a beautiful summer day in Sydney with the vibrant colours of the vegetables. Try it with a chilled sauvignon blanc or cold beer and every cool and crunchy mouthful will complement the sesame flavours beautifully.
Presented elegantly, we believe this is a tasty entree to precede the main course and dessert for the chinese 3-course meal in our “Cuisines of the world” journey. So stay tuned and be sure to check out our recipes each day for this month of October.
We hope you will try to prepare this beautiful and simple salad at home. It is easy, tasty and great for entertaining friends and family too.
So dear readers, what is your favourite Chinese food?
*Note to readers: You can support and help raise the awareness of breast cancer by the following ways:
- Share our recipes with family and friends on Facebook or Twitter.
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- Suggest to us any recipe, jelly or otherwise that you may like us to cook using the mould. Recipes do not necessarily need to incorporate gelatin and participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible. We need all the help we can get and would welcome any creative ideas and recipes from our readers.
- Purchase a jelly mould from Royal Selangor. Remember, all sales proceeds will go towards improving the lives of women affected by breast cancer.
Win an Olympus VG-110 camera
To encourage readers to support the cause for breast cancer awareness, we will give away an Olympus VG-110 camera to one lucky reader.
All you have to do over the next thirty days is to provide your comments, feedback, suggestions or any recipes and you will be in the running to receive this camera. This prize is open to any and all readers.
If you enjoy our daily posts throughout October 2011, do consider helping the cause for breast cancer by participating in any or all the the ways mentioned above.
We wish you good health and happy cooking!
Chopinand & Mysaucepan