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Dried Seafood and Meat in Chinese Cooking and How to Reconstitute Them

Tips : Never soak dried ingredients in the same bowl

Dried clams and mussels look rather like gravel. Soak in boiling water for 6 hours, then rinse very thoroughly to remove the sand.

Dried shrimps – These small sun dried shellfish are used to give that concentrated shrimp flavor to dishes and also used in the filling of dumplings. Follow recipes' instruction, you might and might not need to soak them in hot water for 15 minutes before use. The water itself is also used as stock. When buying, choose the thick ones devoid of mold. Keep them in refrigerator.

Dried squid - Considered a delicacy to the Chinese, dried squid is produced after removal of the internal organs and sun dried. It has a strong smell and are used to add a very distinctive flavor to dishes and soups. For cooking, you need to soak the dried squid in fresh water over night to soften it. Some add 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda in the water so that the squid will expand more.

Scallops – Dried scallops ("Conboy" / "Gan Bei" / "Gan Yao Zhu" / "Yao Zhu") are widely used by the Chinese as a soup maker. When buying, avoid darkened or moldy ones. The best kind is amber in color. Before using, wash under cold water, remove the tough parts and soak the dried scallops in hot water for 6 hours or add water to cover scallops and steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hour. Liquid should be retained to serve as stock for cooking the dish or for other dishes.

Chinese Dried Sausage – Made of pork, these sweet-salty tasting sausage that look like pepperoni are obtainable in Chinese and other oriental supplies. Used in thin slices for cooking. No soaking is required. Called " lap cheong " in Cantonese.

Other dried seafood that are more complicated to prepare:

Abalone, Shark’s Fins, Sea Cucumber, Fish Maw and Jellyfish.

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.