Sea Cucumber : The Art of Soaking
Sea cucumber is a highly valued seafood product in Chinese cuisine. Rich in collagen and having zero cholesterol, people of all ages enjoy eating this exotic dish. Sea cucumber does not carry any flavour nor taste, instead, it readily absorbs the taste and smell of the broth and ingredients it is cooked with. Preparation of this ingredient is tedious but extremely rewarding when done correctly.
You can find pre-soaked sea cucumber in the market. However, exercise caution when purchasing from unfamiliar vendors as they may add chemicals to enhance the size of the sea cucumbers. Furthermore, such sea cucumbers may shrink or dissolve during the process of cooking. Hence, to ensure that you get to enjoy 100% natural sea cucumber, spend some effort and time to pick up the skill of soaking them.
The art of soaking
The soaking process can be used for all kinds of sea cucumbers. Duration varies according to the thickness of the sea cucumber.
Things you will need:
- A clean pot with lid (diameter should be as large as possible, so as to not hinder the growth of the sea cucumber)
- Metal spoon
- Clean supply of water (tap water)
1. Soak dried sea cucumber in a pot of tap water, the sea cucumber should be fully immerse in water. The pot used for soaking should perferably be clean of oil and other impurities.
2. Soak sea cucumber for one night.
3. On the next morning, change the water in the pot and boil the water with the sea cucumber inside.
4. Once the water starts to boil, close the fire and cover the pot with a lid.
5. Leave the pot of water aside.
6. Change the water at night (make sure the water is already cooled.)
7. Repeat steps 3 - 6 depending on the type of sea cucumber.
8. Remember to cut open the stomach of the sea cucumber if it is not cut open, and remove any intestines that you can see with a spoon or a small knife. This can only be done after the 1st day of boiling. If the sea cucumber is still too hard to be cut open, try cutting it on the 2nd day.
Storage of sea cucumber
1. Remove the unused soaked sea cucumber and place it inside a plastic bag.
2. Keep the bag of sea cucumber in the freezer compartment.
3. To defrost, allow the sea cucumber to defrost naturally.
1. Dried sea cucumber can be keep outside or in cabinet.
2. Some sea cucumbers that are sold in open markets may be slightly wet. These must be kept in the fridge.