Saturday 13 January 2018

CNY Steamed Herbal Crayfish Deluxe 新年如意虾婆

It's time of the year to start thinking about reunion dishes for Chinese New Year (CNY). Have you started planning for yours? For many years, it's almost certain that we'll have Treasure Pot (aka Basin Dish 盆菜) on the first 2 days of CNY. Hence, I'll just need to brainstorm dishes for our reunion dinners on CNY's eve.  As I have to prepare numerous dishes, I'll need to multi-task in my one-woman-operation kitchen. Trust me, you'll see me using my air fryer, oven, steam oven and stove tops all at the same time. This year, the Chinese New Year Steamed Herbal Crayfish Deluxe 新年如意虾婆 would most likely be the dish occupying my steamer in that crucial hour before the reunion dinner starts.

I always include a steamed dish in the menu as I have aged parents and it's the least troublesome to cook. Simply toss the ingredients into the steamer and that's it! I could move on to prepare and cook other dishes. The only tricky part's to watch out on timing. I always ensure that I have a timer to alert me. I've chosen Chinese New Year Steamed Herbal Crayfish Deluxe 新年如意虾婆 this year because crayfish meat's bountiful and it's easily cooked within a short span of 10 to 15 minutes should I need to choose a short cut method on the actual day. 

I adore the idea of preserving the tenderness of the meat through steaming. In this instance, I steamed the herbs for an hour till the aroma and flavours exuded. Crayfish were then added to the herbs to be steamed for another 15 minutes. Lastly, I drizzled herbal tonic over to make the dish infused with more intense flavours. This handy layering of flavours really give the dish an extra punch!

Of course, if I'm in a rush, I would just apply the short cut method by steaming the crayfish in herbal tonic instead of real herbs! To me, this method works well too! Except, I do not have the actual herbs to layer the dish in presentation. 

Either way, it's still easy cooking and would surely whet one's appetite! More importantly,  this is healthy eat for my family in the festive season!

Main Ingredients (for 2 to 4 pax with other dishes) :
  • 4 pcs fresh or frozen crayfish (thawed, cleaned and cut to halves)
  • 3 pcs Huai Shan (Dried Chinese Yam) 淮山 
  • 3 pcs Dang Shen (Codonopsis Root) 党参 
  • 3 pcs Bei Qi (Radix Astragali) 北芪
  • 3 pcs Yu Zhu (Solomon's Seal) 玉竹
  • 3 pcs Big Red Dates 大红枣 (deseed and cut to halves if red dates are huge)
  • 3 pcs Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root) 当归
  • 3 pcs Chuan Gong (Sichuan Lovage Rhizome) 川芎
  • 2 tsp Wolfberries 枸杞子
  • 2 tsp Codyceps Flowers 虫草花 (optional)
  • 1/2 pc ikan bilis stock cube (break into few small pieces)
  • 2 cups hot boiled water 
  • 4 to 5 tbsp Huiji Waist Tonic 
  • 1 to 2 tsp tobiko roe 
  • coriander (for garnishing)

Refer to my Chinese Emperor Herbal Chicken post to check out how the respective herbs look like if you're unfamiliar.

Method : 
  1. Rinse and clean the herbs first. Then transfer all herbs into one bowl and add hot boiled water.
  2. Steam herbs & water for 1 hour. Remove bowl from pot when the herbs emit herbal aroma and flavours.
  3. Get ready a big piece of foil and similar size baking/cooking paper. Lay the baking/cooking paper on top of the foil. Insert a tray underneath to prevent water from overflowing/spilling.
  4. Arrange and line the crayfish onto the baking/cooking paper. 
  5. Spread steamed herbs around the crayfish pieces and pour the herbal water (from steaming the herbs earlier) onto the cooking/baking paper. Toss in ikan bills stock cube pieces.
  6. Wrap or cover the baking/cooking paper and foil over the ingredients in a secured manner.
  7. Send to steam in high heat for first 5 mins. Then switch to low-medium heat for another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from steamer/pot when time's due and unwrap carefully at the top.
  9. Drizzle Huiji Waist Tonic over crayfish to instill stronger flavour and aroma. 
  10. Cover back with baking/cooking paper and foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Dish out, top with tobiko and garnishings. Serve whilst hot.

(scroll to bottom of page, click on "Print" or "PDF" icon for printer friendly recipe)


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