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Best Shark Fin Recipes for the New Year


Ben Hong
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This will sound heretic to a lot of people, but I really can't see the point of spending big dollars on something like sharks fin, which I will eat but not put a high priority on, certainly not buy. Same goes for bird's nest. To me they are in the same league as camel humps, sparrow's tongues, bear paws, moose noses. Like I say, I certainly wouldn't pay money for those items.

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This will sound heretic to a lot of people, but I really can't see the point of spending big dollars on something like sharks fin, which I will eat but not put a high priority on, certainly  not buy. Same goes for bird's nest.  To me they are in the same league as camel humps, sparrow's tongues, bear paws, moose noses. Like I say, I certainly wouldn't pay money for those items.

I'm with you, Ben.

I do understand the admiration of the diners toward the chef who goes through all that work for a dish, cost-wise and time-wise, but I will pass on making it.

I once made a pile of Four Happiness Shao Mai, in which the shao mai is formed with four openings in the top -- and each opening has a different shredded filling. Not exotic as the present subject, but all the work did not really enhance the taste --- and so I never did them again. It was probably very unChinese of me to consider myself and not those who ate the shao mai, but when they just gobbled them down, that was it!! But then again, I am not Chinese, so I can act like a dabizi! (can't I?)

JH - I hope your guests appreciate your efforts!!

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To ANSWER your query, I always use a superior Chicken stock for final service.

MY shark fins are soaked overnight in water with the addition of a little white Chinese vinegar. Then they are rinsed and steamed in superior stock with ginger slices for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the fins. Add to soup with whatever else you want.

Shark fins add texture, not much flavor. If you use shreds, you may not be getting shark. Whole fins are expensive and hard to find. The bigger they are the more they cost. -Dick

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This will sound heretic to a lot of people, but I really can't see the point of spending big dollars on something like sharks fin, which I will eat but not put a high priority on, certainly  not buy. Same goes for bird's nest.  To me they are in the same league as camel humps, sparrow's tongues, bear paws, moose noses. Like I say, I certainly wouldn't pay money for those items.

I'm with you, Ben.

I do understand the admiration of the diners toward the chef who goes through all that work for a dish, cost-wise and time-wise, but I will pass on making it.

I believe Ben, jo-mel and I are probably the "should be revered elders" in this group. :rolleyes: We want to just sit back and let you young'uns buy and make these delectable dishes for us to enjoy! :laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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To ANSWER your query, I always use a superior Chicken stock for final service.

MY shark fins are soaked overnight in water with the addition of a little white Chinese  vinegar. Then they are rinsed and steamed in superior stock with ginger slices for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the fins. Add to soup with whatever else you want.

Shark fins add texture, not much flavor. If you use shreds, you may not be getting shark. Whole fins are expensive and hard to find. The bigger they are the more they cost. -Dick

yep, these are whole fins. :)

I'll post my full-on guidelines for cleaning and preparing whole fin (I make it about once every few years) so others have access to the technique, instead of the shortcut listed in my first post.

cheers, JH

Edited by jhirshon (log)
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This will sound heretic to a lot of people, but I really can't see the point of spending big dollars on something like sharks fin, which I will eat but not put a high priority on, certainly  not buy. Same goes for bird's nest.  To me they are in the same league as camel humps, sparrow's tongues, bear paws, moose noses. Like I say, I certainly wouldn't pay money for those items.

I'm with you, Ben.

I do understand the admiration of the diners toward the chef who goes through all that work for a dish, cost-wise and time-wise, but I will pass on making it.

I don't like eating sharks fin too now - and I generally avoid it due to sustainable fishing issues. I don't want others feeling guilty though - it is such a celebratory dish - I don't want to take the fun out of it.

The only time it seems like it is a definte must is at wedding banquets. My cousin got married this year and he and his fiance both did not want sharks fin soup. It almost came to blows with their parents who said - "No shark's fin? Well then it is not a wedding banquet - it is just having people for dinner". They relented but boycotted their servings.

A few years ago - I was at a wedding banquet and I thought we were being served thick rice noodles ('lai fun') and I thought - how cheap. I took a bite and it turned out to be the thickest sharks fin I had ever had. The father of the bride had invested in some years ago when some ridiculously big fins came his way. I have to say it was an awesome experience which I think will never be repeated for me.

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[...]The father of the bride had invested in some years ago when some ridiculously big fins came his way.  I have to say it was an awesome experience which I think will never be repeated for me.

Do people "bring their own shark fin" to the restaurant?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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[...]The father of the bride had invested in some years ago when some ridiculously big fins came his way.  I have to say it was an awesome experience which I think will never be repeated for me.

Do people "bring their own shark fin" to the restaurant?

In this case - I think he bought them at the restaurant when a particularly good batch came in and then had them set aside for him. It was Fook Lam Moon in HK who will provide this service for there more regular customers.

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Soak 1 pound of fin (whole or needles) in a generous amount of cold water for 24 hours, changing the water 3-4 times.  Drain, and scrub the fin as best you can with a brush.  Add the fin to a wok or large pot filled with cold water and slowly heat to boiling.  Drain and put the fin in cold water again.

When the fin has cooled, rinse it and put it in a heatproof bowl.  Heat 3-4 tablespoons oil in a wok, and add 6 scallions and 12 slices of ginger.  Stir until fragrant, then add 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine and 2 cups rich stock (made from 1/4 duck and a whole chicken) and bring to a boil.

Strain the stock and pour it over the fin, put the fin with the bowl in a steamer and steam for 3 hours.  Remove the fin, discarding the cooking liquid, and carefully rinse it in 3 changes of hot water.  It is now ready for use in most Shark's Fin recipes.

I wonder how the person first cooked and ate shark fin discovered such a complicated procedure.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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After reading jhirshon's method of preparing shark fins, I wonder - what's the point of shark fin soup? There's the prestige of spending big bucks and exotic source, and the texture, but the flavour of this ingredient has been boiled/ steamed/rinsed out. :blink:

If the delicious flavours are from the stock and other ingredients in the final product, you can use different lengths of bean thread for texture...much less work and expense!

That's something my mom used to make - not to fool anyone that it's shark fin soup - just as a nice soup filled with flavour and texture but easy to make.

The first time she made this was for my son's Caucasian playmate; they were 10 at the time. Ja and Reagan were trying to out-do each other in the "most outrageous thing" they've ever eaten. Of course, Ja said "shark fin soup". Reagan wouldn't believe Ja, so they asked Po-Po to make some. Po-Po, wanting to make her grandson look good, but lacking time and resources at that moment, came up with this soup. She's been Reagan's hero ever since. The boys are now 27 years old, and Reagan still talks about this...and still hasn't been told the truth! :laugh::laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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If the delicious flavours are from the stock and other ingredients in the final product, you can use different lengths of bean thread for texture...much less work and expense!

That's exactly how it's done by hawkers in Hong Kong. They put bean threads, shredded chicken in broth with soy sauce added and call it "shark fin soup" (with quotes :raz: ). On the street selling at <US$0.50 a bowl, who are we kidding?

And I cannot tell when Ben is speaking the truth or just telling a joke...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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And I cannot tell when Ben is speaking the truth or just telling a joke...

Aw----- it is a great story!! And it is one that I will quote from now on in!!

<<<<<I wonder how the person first cooked and ate shark fin discovered such a complicated procedure.>>>>>

Probably, the first person tried to cook and tried to eat a shark fin ------ and couldn't! So he was hungry enough to persist?

Isn't that how Chinese food evolved? ---- out of hunger?

Faux Shark Fin Soup! That really appeals to lazy me!!

Dejah --- HeeHee! Will you ever tell Reagan? Bet your Mom had fun with that!

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Sigh....sharksfin soup is nothing but a status symbol. There's hardly any nutritional value in the gelatinous threads and in some parts sharks have a high level of mercury. If I want good food, this is not something I'd order. Somehow, many restaurants screw up on this soup, turning it into something gaggingly gooey and unnaturally-colored. Mom makes the best...and, yup, it's all in the soup. I'm going to have it for CNY reunion dinner. Oh no! Wait! Since I schemed my way to my parent's house for the Winter Solstice Dinner, I won't be able to get out of going to my MIL's place this time. :angry::sad:

Oh, Ben-sook, I can't wait for you to regale us with your tales of how the other chinese gustatory exotica came to be....like the deer's erm....jewels? LOL!

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Oh, Ben-sook, I can't wait for you to regale us with your tales of how the other chinese gustatory exotica came to be....like the deer's erm....jewels? LOL!

Ah Dear TP, that's a story for another time. My Muse of the occasion, Diana , the Goddess of the hunt, has to visit before that's to happen. :wink::biggrin:

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