THE BIRD’S NEST CHINESE SEAFOOD
In high-end Chinese restaurants, a dish called “Chinese seafood bird nest” has become a popular Cantonese delicacy. Weddings, the Lunar New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, and baby showers all feature a classic 10-course Chinese banquet.
This seafood meal is ideal for any celebration, no matter the reason behind it. When it comes to us, we’re working on our Chinese New Year cuisine plans.
It’s a Seafood Medley
The typical combination of large shrimp, scallops, and squid in this Chinese Seafood Bird Nest is the trifecta of seafood.
Fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs like garlic and ginger are stir-fried with the contents of the bird’s nest in a white sauce similar to that of Moo Goo Gai Pan. Cantonese cuisine revolves around these flavors.
WHICH MATERIALS ARE IN THE “NEST?”
So let’s get down to finding out what the chalice of seafood, the bird’s nest, comprises. One of the Woks of Life’s favorites is taro, a tuber.
In addition to its earthy aroma and flavor, fried taro can be used as an edible basket to carry all the delicate, saucy fish you’ll be serving.
You’ll need to spend some time, effort, and plenty of oil to make this delicious Taro Seafood Bird Nest. Make a statement to loved ones, significant others, in-laws, and critics who claim that your cooking talents end at cold cereal and toast with a special meal!
Steamed whole fish, ginger-scallion lobster, and banquet fried rice are some of our suggestions for a Chinese New Year supper or a menu for a Chinese banquet.
With this Chinese Seafood Bird Nest, you’ll be able to serve a meal fit for the ages.
FOR THE TARO BASKET:
- 4 cups of taro
- 6 cups of canola oil
FOR THE SEAFOOD:
- 6 pcs. of large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 6 large diver or sea scallops
- 6 oz. of whole squid (cleaned)
FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:
- 3 tbsp. of canola oil(divided)
- 8 pcs. of fresh ginger slices
- 2 pcs. of scallions (white parts only, sliced at an angle into 1½-inch pieces)
- 2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
- half of a carrot (cut into a star pattern)
- ½ cup of bamboo shoots (washed)
- ¼ of a whole red bell pepper (cut into 1-inch slices)
- ½ cup of straw mushrooms (fresh or canned)
- 1 cup of sugar snap peas (tips removed)
- 1 pc. small red onion (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 tsp. of Shaoxing wine
- 1 cup of hot chicken stock
- 1 tsp. of salt
- ¼ tsp. of sugar
- 1/8 tsp. of ground white pepper
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- 1½ tbsp. of cornstarch (mixed with 1½ tablespoons warm water, optional)
- Make sure that the strainer is large enough to hold all of the taro and that some of it hang over the edge of the sieve. After julienned, the taro will be slightly wet and starchy, which is ideal for optimum adhesion. Make sure the taro strands are sandwiched between two strainers of the same size by placing another sieve on top.
- Using a thermometer, check the temperature of 6 cups of oil in a wok or saucepan and add the “nest,” which is still sandwiched between the two strainers, to the oil. Fry until golden brown, tilting the taro basket in different positions to fry it evenly. While a wok is preferable for frying, a deep pot large enough to fit the basket would work just as well, provided you have enough room. Place the taro basket carefully and slowly into the pot. Taro baskets can cause oil to expand and overflow if your pot is too small and your oil is too close to the pot’s rim. To prevent this, use a deeper pot or wok.
- Make sure the shrimp and scallops you’re serving have been well washed before serving them.
- Remove the squid’s hard skeleton and separate its tentacles and body. Drain the tentacles after using them as-is. Remove the skeleton by slicing the mantle into flat pieces. Make 2-by-3-inch rectangles out of the flat sections and score them diagonally in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut through the squid.
- Boil 6 cups of water in a wok, blanch the shrimp, and scallops for around 20 seconds, then transfer them to a platter and keep warm. Since they’ll be stir-fried, the shrimp and scallops only need to be cooked to around 70% of their original size.
- After blanching the squid, remove them from the water and place them on a serving dish. Curled squid may be available in an Asian grocery store’s freezer section if you know where to look.
- In a wok, heat two tablespoons of oil to medium-high heat and coat the outside of the wok with it. In a wok, heat the oil to a temperature that allows it to flow freely and begin to shimmer.
- Toss in the ginger slices and let them cook for about 10 seconds in the wok before serving. After 10 seconds, add the scallion and garlic and continue to stir fry.
- Adding the carrots, bamboo shoots, and peppers is the next step; the heat should be turned up to medium-high. Straw mushrooms, snap peas, and onion can be added after everything has been stir-fried for 30 seconds.
- Then, add the seafood and the Shaoxing wine to the mixture. Add the heated chicken stock and continue to stir-fry for another minute. Adding hot or boiling chicken stock to the wok helps maintain it hot enough for a nice stir fry, which may be difficult to achieve on most standard burners. How much chicken stock you use depends on how much sauce you want in your dish.
- Add the salt, sugar, white pepper, and sesame oil while the sauce comes to a boil and stir everything together. Add more seasonings to your liking with a spoon, but do so quickly, or your seafood may overcook!
- The cornstarch and water should be combined in a separate bowl and whisked until smooth. Slowly pour the mixture into the wok while swirling. Another option is to leave it out if you don’t like the flavor, but it’s best that the sauce coats all your ingredients.
- Spoon the mixture into your taro basket carefully, then serve immediately!