August 8, 2015

Nang Chong Stories : Sea Cucumber

After the Second World War, the economy of Sarawak recovered slightly, but imported goods were very cheap.

Sea cucumber for example cost very little and most people could afford to buy some, soak them and have a great soup. Many of our older relatives enjoy eating sea cucumber soup because this soup is very nourishing and it was meant for the aged people.

My mother, then a young mother enjoyed buying dried sea cucumber and sending them to Nang Chong for my grandmother and her brothers' family.

A simple soup of the rehydrated sea cucumber was easy to make . Stir fry some ginger (in those days, home grown), add some minced pork, once the meat is seared, throw in the slices of sea cucumber. Add a bit of Foochow red wine and some water and the soup is ready. Before serving add some pepper.
Photo of Sibu Sea Cucumber Soup by Annie Q (Blogger) with thanks.

My mum said "Sea cucumber has no taste of its own and the taste of the dish must come from the other ingredients."

 For the simple soup, eggs are beaten into the soup after it has been brought to the boil. Once added, the fire must be lowered or doused and pot covered. When the soup is poured into a bowl, the beaten eggs make a very nice flowery pattern in the soup. This makes the soup very tasty.

It is very tasty when vinegar and pepper is added to give the soup a great ooomph.

Braised Sea Cucumber prepared by my sister for my mother on Chinese New Year.

Each festival we would talk about the availability of food, and we were proud that we could produce our basic vegetables and meat, but then as the years went buy we had to pay more for imported vegetables and delicacies. We have been worried that may be the sea cucumbers that we used to enjoy would just be photos in our albums and we would forget the taste of the soup.

Writing about sea cucumber brings back great memories. Each time we have a dinner for our elders we are actually passing down good values and virtues to our next generation. "This is food for grand mother. It will make her very happy...." and grandma will beam you the biggest smile ever!!

Sea cucumber can be cooked in more than 101 ways. Your imagination will bring about a new recipe. It is up to you!!

Today the sea cucumber is too expensive for most families due to world inflation of food prices. Are we facing world food shortage?

What are we going to do about this problem?


Fabian Yii said...

My mum likes sea cucumber and it always show up on Chinese new year eve dinner every year without fail.

Ensurai said...

It is good to have sea cucumber during Chinese New Year. It is a dish favoured by my mother and her mother. Praise God!!

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