Sea cucumbers belong to the same group as starfish and sea urchins, which is echinoderm. They consist of a long, tube-like body (like a cucumber) and are usually found living along the ocean floor.
Sea cucumbers can be consumed raw, pickled, or fried. They have a soft, slippery texture and are bland in taste. Hence, other ingredients such as meats, other seafood, or spices are added to balance the flavor of the dish. They’re frequently combined with foodstuffs like Chinese cabbage, winter melon, and shiitake mushrooms.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Sea cucumbers have been fished from the Pacific Ocean for more than 170 years. They have been part of Chinese and other Southeast Asian cuisines over the centuries and have also been consumed as a medicinal ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Sea cucumbers are believed to be useful for people suffering from ailments like arthritis, cancer, frequent urination, and impotence. Sea cucumber extract can also be found infused in numerous creams, tinctures, oils, and cosmetics, in addition to oral sea cucumber supplements, which are considered very popular in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Sea cucumber (pre-cleaned) - 1 kg/2.2 lb
- wCup water (used to soak the mushrooms. Save this water for braising) - 750 ml/3 cups
- Dehydrated Shiitake Mushrooms - 80g/0.18 lb
- Garlic (lightly crushed) - 4 Cloves
- Chinese Cabbage - 350g/0.77 lb
- Black Moss (rehydrated) - 30g/0.66 lb
- Cooking Oil - 4 tbsp
- Oyster sauce - 6 tbsp (or to taste)
- Sugar - 1 tbsp (or to taste)
- Shaoxing Rice Wine - 1 tbsp
- Chicken Bouillon Powder - 1 tbsp
- Begin by soaking the Chinese cabbage in cool, salted water. Rinse. Repeat the same procedure three times to get rid of all the impurities. Once done, allow it to dry. Now, take a small knife and carefully scrape the sea cucumber under running cold water.
- Cut the cabbage into 4cm sections along its height. Repeat the same procedure for the sea cucumbers.
- Take a large pot and place the cabbage on the bottom of it. Pour 2 US cups (470ml) of mushroom water into the pot. Allow it to simmer on a low-medium flame for about 10 minutes.
- After approximately 10 minutes, turn the flame up to high. Throw the shiitake mushrooms, sea cucumbers, and residual mushroom water into the pot.
- Next, season using sugar, chicken bouillon powder, and oyster sauce. Combine well and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, lower it to a simmer.
- In the meantime, take a pan and add oil to it. Heat it up on a high flame and add the garlic cloves. Allow them to cook for around 20 seconds, or wait until they turn light brown in color.
- Add the prepared garlic, oil, and Shaoxing rice wine to the pot and mix well to combine.
- Place the black moss on top and let it to cook on a low-medium flame for the next 30 minutes. Make sure to let it cook until everything is soft.
- Serve immediately with rice!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 584mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g