Apr 092010

It is good to know that more and more people are declining shark’s fins soup. Instead, people are now turning to fish maw and bird’s nests. Both of these Chinese delicacies are believed to be rich in nutrients. Let me talk about fish maw in here.

Simply put, fish maw is the dried gas bladder in larger fish. Chinese usually (right, usually, there are always exception) do not consume the gas bladder as is. The gas bladders are usually deep fried or dried. Since I am not a big fan of deep fried food, I always go for the dried ones. In addition, fish maws are believed to be a rich source of collagen. So, it is especially good for women and unborn babies in pregnant women.

One fact you have to consider is that many parts of the ocean today is contaminated with heavy metal. There is the fear that we might come across heavy metal fish maw. So, some people are concerned that consuming fish maw will lead to fatal consequences. I would like to think of the whole thing this way: in today’s world, there is pollution all around us. Everything, including the air we breathe and the water we drink, is contaminated to a certain extent. As long as we don’t over-consume anything, we should be in good shape.

Dec 122009

Chinese eat a lot of exotic delicacies, the Chinese expectant mothers are no exception. I want to talk about the two most popular ones – fish maw and bird’s nest.

Fish Maw (花膠) – yep! Fish Maw! This is the gas bladders in fish. And yes, I am talking about the internal organ of fish. But, don’t be turned off. When cooked properly, this delicacy is a real treat! It is also a rich source of collagen and believed to be good for you and your babies.
There are different ways to prepare the fish maw. The easiest and most convenient way, I have done in the past, is to prepare a larger piece at once, then eat portions of it when needed. To do so, you first to soak the washed larger piece in cold water overnight. When the fish maw is soften, you then bring a pot of water to boil, and place the fish maw in it. When the water and the maw boil again, you can turn the heat off and let the fish maw remain in the pot for three to four hours. When it is soft enough, you will take it out, drain it, cut it into smaller pieces, then place the smaller pieces (wrapped separately) in the freezer for later use. Next time when you cook your favourite soup, just dump a few pieces into your soup, and you have finished the cooking. But remember to eat everything in the soup! Otherwise, you would have missed out a lot!
Oh! You can also make sweet soups with the maw. Simply take out the smaller pieces and ‘double-boil’ it with rock sugar. It is deeeeeee-licious!
One more thing, some people may say that you should eat the male or the female maw. To me, there wasn’t any difference, as long as there is something for me to eat!

Bird’s Nest (燕窝) – that’s another delicacy. You can eat it sweet or salty. To make the sweet soup, soak the washed nest in cold water for about two hours, then ‘double-boil’ it for an hour or so, add rock sugar, ‘double-boil’ for another 5 to 10 minutes, you are done! It is really tasty!
Another easy way to cook it is, after soaking it, place the nest in congee and serve. It is convenient and tasty as well.
One thing I have to remind you is that, as tasty as bird’s nest is, doctors have recommended expectant mothers not to consume too much of it. Some lesser quality bird’s nests are believed to be contaminated with heavy metal. Eating too much (unintentionally of course) of heavy metal will certainly do more harm than good to you and your babies.

Bon Appetite!