Braised Dried Oyster With Black Moss – Hou Si Fatt Choy

Braised dried oyster with black moss
Braised dried oyster with black moss – Hou Si Fatt Choy.

When I wrote about eating my last festive cuisine in 2005, I really though I would never get the opportunity to savour hou si fatt choy again. That was five years ago. From then till now, I have diligently maintained a low-protein low-purine and low-salt diet. At the same time, I perform the clean intermittent catheterisation on schedule and take Detrusitol as prescribed. Those effort has paid off. The deterioration of my renal function has stabilised.

For this Chinese New Year, Wuan and I decided to cook this auspicious dish. Most of the restaurants that we patronised for our Chinese New Year meals did not have it in their menus. We used the recipe as a guide but did not adhere to the portions strictly. After all, to me, cooking is not an exact science. As long as we get the taste right, a little bit more of this and a little less of that would not make much difference.

Wuan bought eight extra-large dried oysters, black moss and shiitake mushrooms from one of the Chinese grocery shops in Petaling Street. During one of our weekend grocery shopping trips, we bought a small bottle of oyster sauce and a bottle of thick soya sauce. The day before we were to cook the dish, Wuan bought 300gms of roasted pork belly and half a head of Chinese cabbage from the wet market in Pandan Perdana.

This dish is actually very easy to prepare. The only ingredients that need cutting are the Chinese cabbage, garlic, shallots, ginger and removing the stem from the shiitake mushrooms. Wuan got the siu yuk seller to cut the roasted pork to size. We used only four of the extra large oysters and added four smaller ones that she usually used for soups. The dish turned out nicely.

The intense aroma from the mushrooms and dried oysters that wafted from the kitchen made me salivate long before the dish was ready to be served. The mushrooms were soft. So was the black moss. Overall, we liked it very much. I am looking forward to the next Chinese New Year already so that I can get to savour this dish again. Below is the recipe we used for this time with some variations from the previous one. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Bon appetit.

Hou Si Fatt Choy (Braised Dried Oysters with Black Moss)

4 extra large dried oysters,
4 dried oysters
soak in enough warm water to cover for 1 hour

20 g black moss, soak in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes and drain
300g roasted pork, cut into 1 cm thick portions
8 large shiitake mushrooms, remove stem, soak in enough water to cover and leave overnight
1/2 head of Chinese cabbage, cut into 2″ strips

5 cloves garlic, chopped
5 shallots, chopped
3 slices ginger, bashed several times with the broad side of the kitchen knife

3 tbsp cooking oil

3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp thick soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp corn flour
a dash of sesame seed oil

Heat oil and saute garlic, shallots and ginger until fragrant. Add oyster and fry for another 1 minute. Add shitake mushrooms, roasted pork and sauces and stir fry for another minute. Add water from that the shiitake mushrooms and oysters were soaked in. Cover the kuali and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check occasionally to ensure there is sufficient gravy. When the mushrooms becomes tender, add corn flour to thicken the gravy. Add the black moss and simmer for another 10 minutes before turning off heat. Serve with rice.

Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun At Ipoh Old Town

Wuan and I were in Ipoh over the weekend. We took Cheeky there to have him neutered. He is nearing one year old. Of late, he has been making awful noises and showing signs of restlessness and aggression. Neutering would calm him down somewhat. We also want to let him out of the house regularly. Neutering will reduce the occurrences of him roaming too far away.

Jalan Bandar Timah in Ipoh Old Town
Jalan Bandar Timah in Ipoh Old Town.
Photo by Wuan.

That trip to Ipoh was also a good opportunity for us to explore Ipoh Old Town, especially the coffee shops along Jalan Bandar Timah. The coffee shops here serve the famous Ipoh White Coffee. Since Wuan and I do not drink coffee, we were there for the food only. Finding a parking space was difficult. We had to circle the area twice and decided to park a distance away.

Hong Hin Hakka noodles at Jalan Sultan Yusuf in Ipoh Old Town
Hong Hin Hakka noodles at Jalan Sultan Yusuf in Ipoh Old Town.
Photo by Wuan.

While making our way there, we chanced upon another kopitiam called Hong Hin at the corner of Jalan Sultan Yusuf and Persiaran Bijih Timah. It was packed to the brim with the breakfast crowd. There were people standing around waiting for tables. While Wuan when to check the food that drew the crowd, an uncle who was waiting beside me said it is Hakka noddles and really worth the wait. When Wuan got back, she said they had run out of Hakka noodles. So we made our way to Jalan Bandar Timah.

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong and Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong at Jalan Bandar Timah in Ipoh Old Town
Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong and Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong at Jalan Bandar Timah in Ipoh Old Town.

The coffee shops there were equally packed with people standing around waiting for tables too. We chose Sin Yoon Loong and waited for our turn at the tables. We were lucky as several aunties occupying the table where I was waiting had just finished their breakfast. While I took my place at the table, Wuan went over to Sun Yuan Foong, the coffee shop next door, and came back with two plates of Ipoh chee cheong fun.

Ipoh chee cheong fun from Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong
Ipoh chee cheong fun from Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong.

That was my first time eating Ipoh chee cheong fun. It has mushroom and chicken gravy (I think), red sauce (tim cheong, tee cheo), chilli sauce, pickled green chillies, sesame seeds and deep fried shallots. Somehow, I still prefer the Penang chee cheong fun that comes with red sauce (tee cheo), chilli sauce (huan cheo cheo), prawn paste (heh ko), and a sprinkle of sesame seeds (mua) and deep fried shallots (eu chang).

Kon lou Hakka noodles from Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong
Kon lou Hakka noodles from Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong.

Still feeling hungry after that, I ordered a plate of kon lou Hakka noodles without extras. It was just the flat noodles stirred in soya sauce and bean sprouts, and garnished with spring onions and comes with chilli sauce by the side. It tasted, well, just like noodles in soya sauce. After those two dishes, my taste buds were still screaming to be titillated.

Siu yuk lou (roast pork seller) at Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong
Siu yuk lou (roast pork seller) at work at Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong.
Photo by Wuan.

Right beside our table was a siu yuk stall. The siu yuk lou (roast pork seller) has a steady stream of customers buying from him. All the time we were there, he never stopped chopping the roast pork. He also had char siu (barbecue pork) on skewers displayed but his siu yuk seemed to be more popular. Wuan ordered RM3 worth of siu yuk which was the minimum amount he would sell. The skin was crispy. Finally, I had a few bites of good food that my taste buds agreed with. Siu yuk is not unique to Ipoh but it was good nonetheless.

Siu yuk (roast pork) from Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong
Siu yuk (roast pork) from Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong.

It was not an exactly fruitful morning where food was concerned. The next time we are in Ipoh, we plan to go to the coffee shop opposite this one called Nam Heong to have a taste of what is being offered there. If we are early enough, we will surely drop by the Hakka noodle shop at Jalan Sultan Yusuf to find out why people would queue for the food.