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Pictorial: Stir-Fried Lotus Roots w/ Dry Conpoy


hzrt8w
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Stir-Fried Lotus Roots with Dry Conpoy and Hairy Moss Fungi (連年發財: 瑤柱發菜炒蓮藕)

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:

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Serving suggestion: 2 to 3

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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.

Preparations:

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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.

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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.

Cooking Instructions:

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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.

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Add the soaked dried conpoy. Save the soaking liquid. Use the spatula to break the conpoy into shreds. Fry for about 1 minute.

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Add the soaked dried black mushrooms. Fry for another minute.

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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.

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This is how the mixture looks about 15 minutes into cooking with lid on.

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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!

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The finished dish. The quantity made in this recipe is a bit more than twice the portion shown in this picture.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Ah Leung, I'm not familiar with the hairy moss fungus. What's the texture like? Taste?

Also, is it possible to use the stems of the mushrooms for stock instead of discarding them?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Ah Leung, I'm not familiar with the hairy moss fungus. What's the texture like? Taste?

Also, is it possible to use the stems of the mushrooms for stock instead of discarding them?

Fat choi takes on the flavour of dominant ingredients...in hzrt's dish, nam yu and conpoy. It's kinda spongy...I think it's mainly symbolic in its use. Fat choi doesn't digest either...so...its re-appearance next day can be scary for someone not used to eating fat choi. :laugh:

The ingredients hzrt used would make a more robust, meatier version of what I make...great for cold wintery nights. I usually add snowpeas, carrots and woodears along with with fresh seafood, beef or chicken. Last Sunday, I also added straw mushrooms.

I'll have to process my pictures later to show my lighter version.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Ah Leung, I'm not familiar with the hairy moss fungus. What's the texture like? Taste?

Hard to describe. I'll have to admit that this dish wasn't my favorites. I'd say texture-wise, a little like vermicelli (the type for sai fun) but a little crunchier. Taste is a little smokier. My dad used a very derogatory term for the hairy moss fungus. I'm afraid to post it here, but is anyone else familiar with the term?

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Hairy Moss Fungi - I am not sure what the correct English name is. (Laksa?)

In Chinese, they are called 發菜 (Fat Choy in Cantonese). In dry form, they are very hard and stiff, like steel wires. They look almost like human hair. Once soaked and cooked, they become soft and crunchy. The texture may be a bit like cotton candy. Like woodear fungi and white fungi, by themselves they taste rather bland. They tend to soak up the flavor of the sauce. Karen is right, hairy moss fungi do have a bit of smokey taste to them.

Karen: I am not familiar with the term that your father spoke of. I thought most Cantonese like fat choi.

About reusing the dried black mushroom stems: yes we can. Usually what we do is to snap off the stems of the dried black mushrooms and keep them in the bag before soaking the mushrooms. You may save those stems in making soup at a later time. But personally I found that the taste of these stems bring to the soup is not as rich as the black mushrooms themselve. Nowadays the dried shittake mushrooms are very inexpensive. Their prices came down to about 1/3 to 1/5 of what they used to be. I personally don't find the stems worth saving any more. But that's just me. :smile:

Note: In cooking this dish, dried oysters can be used in place of dried conpoy. Soak the dried oysters overnight and cook them whole in place of dried conpoy.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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hzrt8w:

Some of the names for 髮菜/發菜:

Hair Vegetable, Hair Moss, Black Moss and Hair Seaweed (not correct since it is land based).

Latin name: Nostoi commune v. flageliforme

髮菜 - hair vegetable (Fa Cai in Mandarin) in Northern China.

發菜 -"prosperous" vegetable (Fat Choy in Cantonese).

The Northern Chinese use Facai in braised meat dishes; it absorbs the flavor and provide a crunchy, slippery texture.

It also supposedly has medicinal quality; something like "eat hair grows hair" kind of logic. :rolleyes:

This also makes a great vegetarian dish without the conpoy.

Isn’t this fairly similar to the vegetarian dish “Lohan Delight” (Lohan Tsai)?

Good job, a very interesting dish.

Edited by pcbilly (log)
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髮菜 - hair vegetable (Fa Cai in Mandarin) in Northern China.

發菜 -"prosperous" vegetable (Fat Choy in Cantonese).

.....

This also makes a great vegetarian dish without the conpoy.

Isn’t this fairly similar to the vegetarian dish “Lohan Delight” (Lohan Tsai)?

Thanks dcbilly! Indeed there are 2 Chinese names for this fungus. One that describes what it looks like: human hair.

According to some online articles, hairy moss fungi grow in 青海 (Tsing Hai) in the wild and are harvested. One specialty dish is to use hairy moss fungi and ground chicken or pork and eggs to make a roll. The resulting rolls is black (from the hairy moss fungi) and white (from the eggs), good contrast. I have never seen it but would sure like to have some.

One sample article.

Yes my dish is a miniature version of "Lohan Tsai". I use only 4 ingredients, one of which is not even a vegetable. Doesn't the real "Lohan Tsai" use 18 different vegetarian ingredients? :biggrin: (18 Lohan)

I can think of mixing ginko nuts, bean curd sheets, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, jujube dates and other vegetarian ingredients in this dish.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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髮菜 -

I can think of mixing ginko nuts, bean curd sheets, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, jujube dates and other vegetarian ingredients in this dish.

All of the above, especially for the Chinese New Year table. Toasted soya beans (bak dow) add a nutty flavour and texture.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Karen:  I am not familiar with the term that your father spoke of.  I thought most Cantonese like fat choi.

Yeah, I think they do. I was a little picky when I was growing up, and since we only have it once a year I’m just starting to like it.
I can think of mixing ginko nuts, bean curd sheets, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, jujube dates and other vegetarian ingredients in this dish.

Mom also adds sai fun to stretch the dish out a bit, napa, and fried tofu.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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