Friday, August 28, 2015

Oysters with Ginger and Green Onions (Cantonese-Style)...

When you can buy fresh oysters flash-frozen, you don't need to worry about eating them fresh during the "r" months. I always seem to have a bag ready in the freezer bought on sale when my eldest son's craving for oyster omelets comes-a-calling. So a portion of a one lb. bag of frozen oysters will be used for making an omelet but what to do with the rest. A quick search lands me oysters with ginger and green onions-- one of the most common way to prepare oysters in Cantonese Chinese cuisine. At restaurants, oysters are deep-fried making them incredibly greasy, and they tend to overuse cornstarch in an attempt to make the oysters appear bigger; making them at home is easy and you can control the oil and starch. 

Fresh oysters (whether off its shell or frozen, thawed) have great natural seafood taste, so just a small amount of seasoning and complimentary ingredients highlight rather than mask their true taste. Ginger and green onions is classic, but I had a few celery stalks and long chili peppers to use up-- and it turned out delicious! Use medium or large oysters as larger oysters pan-fry up crusty on the outside with a moist, nicely-cooked plump centre; smaller ones tend to dry up and have more chewy parts.

Oysters with Ginger and Green Onions 
Makes 2 to 4 servings

16 medium or 8 large oysters, fresh sold in a container or frozen, thawed
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 slices ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced (optional)
2 long green chili peppers, removing most of the seeds and sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
3 Tbsp. chicken stock or water with 1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon powder/seasoning
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. dark or mushroom soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp. sesame oil
Dash of white pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
cooking oil

Clean the oysters in a bowl of cold water: Let oysters sit in 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. salt for 10 minutes. Rinse twice with cold water and be careful not to break them apart; drain well.

Combine all the sauce ingredients except cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Place oysters on a paper-lined towel plate or chopping board. Lightly press with another paper towel to remove excess moisture. Pat the oysters with cornstarch. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet/wok over medium-high heat and pan fry the oysters until golden on both sides. Remove onto a plate.

In the same skillet/wok, heat 2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and stir until fragrant. Add the green onions. Cook for one minute. Add the celery (if using) and garlic; stir-fry for one minute then add the chilies (if using). Add 1 Tbsp. cooking wine and let cook for another minute. Return oysters to the skillet; toss a few times and stir in the sauce. Let cook for one minute until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove onto serving plate.

Aromatic, scrumptious, juicy and full on savoury-sweet sea-essence flavour with heat!

For other Asian oyster-inspired dishes try: Malaysia's Oyster Omelet (Oh Chien)- a top Malaysian hawker favourite- intoxicating, crispy, gooey, chewy savoury and juicy oyster omelets, Fried Oyster and Kimchi on Ricefabulously juicy oysters and spicy kimchi, and Kimchi Fried Rice and Oyster Mix-Up- make fried rice with kimchi and oysters, set the condiments at the table- shredded seaweed, toasted sesame seeds, chopped jalapenos, egg strips, sliced green onions and fish eggs. Scoop everyone some rice and place it into a large bowl to give room for mixing and tossing with a disposable-gloved hand. Bon appétit!

From top left clockwise: Malaysia's Oyster Omelet (Oh Chien)Fried Oyster and Kimchi on Rice
Kimchi Fried Rice and Oyster Mix-Up.

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