Today marks a special day for me since my first guest post on “Legacy of the Royal Indian Biryani” is published in the International food magazine Zomppa. My heartfelt thanks to Belinda of Zomppa for giving me this opportunity and also for motivating me through her beautiful comments on my posts!
So here I am—an Indian foodie in Hong Kong! Let me tell you, Hong Kong is THE place for seafood lovers! Amazing variety of seafood displayed here in wet markets and megastores will catch anyone’s attention. Huge aquariums and tanks lined up, displaying live fish of various sizes and shape—crabs, giant lobsters, oysters, clams and conches—are a sight in itself. Few months back, when I came to Hong Kong, we used to visit the wet markets every weekend: sometimes just to watch these live fishes swimming around in those vessels, and my little ones used to jump with excitement! The usual Indian freshwater and seawater fishes are missing here, except a few, such as the mud carp and grass carp, pomfret, Bombay duck, prawn, lobster, crab, mullet and a kind of snapper.
For those foodies who plan to visit Hong Kong, don’t miss the waterfront seafood extravaganza at Sai Kung (for its alfresco seafood restaurants), Lamma (try the chilli crab and prawn dishes here), Lei Yue Mun village (affordable and authentic seafood dishes) and Cheung Chau (a fishing hub). The latest seafood products I have tasted here are fish maw soup and grilled squids (Korean style). The next one in my wishlist (as some of you know) are the oysters and the octopus.
This mixed seafood vermicelli is often a part of our dinner menu. It is a mixture of cooking influences from different cultures in Asia. The fresh seafood used here are squids, venus clams and cockles. The cockles are first cleaned under running water with their shells (I discarded any cockle which did not close its shells at this stage). Then, I boiled some brine and immersed the cockles into it for 5 min, till all the shells snapped open. I discarded those which refused to open. For this dish, I removed the shells and reserved the cockle meat. These were rinsed with water once again.
One has to take care to cut the squids into thin strips and marinate them with a little salt and ginger juice (the juice obtained by squeezing pound ginger) for 10 min and then frying it on a mediun flame for 5 min, till these strips coil up. The venus clams are cleaned properly, cut into half (optional), marinated with some salt for 10 min and then lightly fried. This should be kept aside.
Fermented shrimp paste, fish sauce (nam pla) and fermented anchovies with black beans have been used here to accentuate the taste. Please note that an excess of any of these will impart an undesired fishy taste to the dish. Please stick to the quantities given below and you’ll not be disappointed with the results.
- Boiled and drained rice vermicelli: 5 handfuls
- Squid (medium sized, cut into long strips): 1
- Boiled cockles (in salt-water): 25
- Lightly fried venus clams (in ½ tsp salt): 1 cup
- Fermented anchovies with fermented black beans: ¼ cup
- Finely chopped carrots: ½ cup
- Finely chopped beans: ¼ cup
- Shrimp paste: 1 tsp
- Fish sauce: 1 tsp
- Chilli bamboo shoots (cut into thin strips): 8
- Onion (roughly chopped): ½
- Ginger juice: 1 tsp
- Garlic cloves (big ones, chopped finely): 6
- Spring onion greens: ¼ cup (extra for garnishing)
- Sweet chilli sauce: ½ cup
- Oil (divided): 5 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Water: 2 tbsp
Method of preparation:
Heat oil and add the onion when hot, stir and add the garlic and the spring onion greens. Stir on a medium flame for 2 min and add the carrots, beans, bamboo shoots and fermented anchovies and black beans. Cook for 7 min on a high flame. Add the salt, shrimp paste, fish sauce and water. Cook for 2 min, stirring continuously. Add the fried squid strips, fried venus clams and boiled cockle meat. Mix well and stir-fry in the sauce for 5 min on high flame. Add the boiled vermicelli and the sweet chilli sauce and mix everything together, till the sauce coats the vermicelli well. Keep on stirring for 10 min. Garnish with freshly chopped spring onion greens.
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