Many Chinese like to associate food with symbolic well wishes. Especially round Chinese New Year, you can find many dish titles named to associate with wishes for wealth, health and prosperity. The hairy moss fungus is called Fat Choy in Cantonese, which has the same pronounciation as the phrase "getting rich". Lotus root is called Leen Ngou. The word Leen has the same pronounciation as two words: one that means "consecutively" and one that means "year". This dish I named, Leen Leen Fat Choy, would symbolically wish you "Getting rich every year"!
Picture of the finished dish:
Serving suggestion: 2 to 3
The main ingredients:
(Clockwise from the top right) Lotus root, about 1 1/2 pound, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 3 small cubes of nam yu (red fermented bean curd), a handful of hairy moss fungi, 6-7 small dried conpoy, about 10 dried black mushrooms.
The dry ingredients need to be soaked in water before cooking.
Note: For best results, the dried conpoy need to be soaked with a small amount of water overnight (see lower right). Dried black mushrooms (top center) and hairy moss fungi (lower left) should be soaked in warm water about 2 hours before cooking.
After soaking, drain, then trim and discard the stems of the black mushrooms. Drain the hairy moss fungi. Use your hands to separate the hairy moss fungi so that they don't tangle into a big patch. Separate them into perhaps 10 to 20 smaller patches. They will soften up when they are cooked.
Peel the lotus roots with a peeler. Wash clean. Trim the dirty ends and discard. Cut the remaining into 1/4 inch thick slices. Raw lotus roots are very crunchy.
Peel and minced about 3-4 cloves of garlic.
Use a pan/wok, set stove to high setting, heat up the pan til hot. Add 2 tblsp of cooking oil. First add the minced garlic, 3 cubes of nam yu (red fermented bean curds) and a pinch of salt (suggest: 1/4 tsp or to taste). Use the spatula to smash the nam yu and mix them with the garlic.
Add the soaked dried conpoy. Save the soaking liquid. Use the spatula to break the conpoy into shreds. Fry for about 1 minute.
Add the soaked dried black mushrooms. Fry for another minute.
Add the lotus root slices. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Add the soaking water of dried conpoy, and another 1/2 cup of water. The lotus roots take a long time to cook (about 25 to 30 minutes). Cook with the lid on. Reduce the stove setting to medium after the initial boil. Occassionally stir the mixture (about every 5 minutes). Keep checking. If the mixture becomes too dry, add some more water as it cooks.
This is how the mixture looks about 15 minutes into cooking with lid on.
About 20 minutes into cooking, add the hairy moss fungi. (They don't take as long to cook.) The hairy moss fungi take up the liquid in the pan as they cook. Try to separate them as much as you can with a pair of chopsticks or forks. If the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more water.
The lotus roots should be ready after 25 to 30 minutes of cooking. The texture should be soft and not snappy. The water should just dry up. Perfect!
The finished dish. The quantity made in this recipe is a bit more than twice the portion shown in this picture.
Edited by hzrt8w, 03 November 2005 - 03:12 AM.