Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Golden Dried Oysters Patties

Dried oyster patties and one whole meat-wrapped oyster.

At an exquisitely prepared birthday banquet last week, one of the hot appetizers  (as against cold) was small fish patties with minced dried oysters. The flavor of the dried oysters reminded me that this Chinese ingredient seem to be overlooked in recent years, restricted to congee, winter melon soups and CNY fa cai stew only.

Chinese dried oysters add a distinctive flavor, which may be too fishy for some people, and savory sweetness to any dish. The big plump greenish-brown oysters skewered on a bamboo stick are the best. The lighter the color, the fresher the dried oysters are, to my experience. These oysters cost quite a bit, about RM180/kg (US$50/kg ) and I had to get them in Hong Kong. One oyster dish I'll never forget was my dad's experiment with wrapping stewed dried oysters, Chinese mushrooms and I don't remember what else in pieces of transparent membrane with a network of fat called pig omentum. I don't remember eating it because I thought it was absolutely gross. That was before I love food. Now I would eat it. I just googled and found out that omentum is a fatty membrane that wraps around your intestines and stomach. So if you have a big belly, you'll have a large piece of omentum. Like the pig.

Instead of fish paste, I used minced pork, minced prawns, a couple of water chestnuts and dried oysters for these patties. I thought they were pretty tasty and the dried oysters give a wonderful flavor. I also experimented by wrapping the meat paste around a steamed dried oyster that was seasoned with wine and salt. While the minced dried oysters patties were tasty, the meat-paste wrapped whole dried oyster was definitely more decadent and satisfying especially if you like dried oysters.

Golden Dried Oysters Patties
100 g pork or chicken*
100 g fish paste or prawns
2 big dried oysters, soaked
5 water chestnuts, peeled & minced finely
1/2 t salt & some white pepper

panko or breadcrumbs to coat

*the pork can be fully lean or with some fat. Hint: Fat always makes food taste better. You can also use ready-minced pork but you'll have to reduce the salt.

1. Mince the pork until very fine. Same with the prawns and the dried oysters. Using the flat blade of your cleaver, smash the meat and the prawns bit by bit separately into a paste.

2 Mix the meat, prawns, dried oysters, water chestnuts, salt & pepper and stir vigorously in circles until the paste becomes sticky and stiff.

3. Divide the meat mixture into small portions of about one tablespoon each. Drop into the breadcrumbs, press it down and shape into small rounds. Chill for 20 minutes for easier handling.

4. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a small pan and shallow-fry the patties, turning over once.

5. Serve hot with  wedges of lemon and mustard sauce.


Precious Pea said...

Aiyooo.....hungry!!! And it's not good cos it's already my bedtime and supper big NO-NO!!! I lurve dried oysters and i can imagine how good those golden patties are. Aiyooo!!!

the lunch guy said...

i have a special place in my heart for crunchy fried foods. its a bit congested with cholesterol right now, but i think i can make room for some of these patties if i cut out something else (like the creme brulee).

i like the picture with the cross section says it all. also, you have placed them on a paper doily and i see no residue of oil, GOOD job on the frying.

a similar dish i put on a menu years ago in phuket (like i said i love crispy fried and i also like to combine seafood and chicken): Crispy “Chicken-Prawn” with Two Salads ~ A King Prawn Enclosed in Chicken Mousse and Crispy-fried, Nestled on Black Bean & Mesclun Salads, Dressed with Rice Wine Vinaigrette.

i think some of the minced oyster in with the mousse would add a great layer of flavor and texture.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Must try to cook this one day, super yummy, but I will add some salted egg yolks, yummy!

Anncoo said...

Mmmm...really makes me drooling...

Trish said...

your pictures always make me extremely hungry!

Big Boys Oven said...

wow this is superb, my favourite dish! just love the taste of the oyster, full of aroma. amzingly done here! as always you are a amazing cook! :)

Milosh said...

Great post Terri, as usual! Here in Serbia, pig omentum is used to wrap liver for frying. It is considered a delicacy. I haven't tried this as I don't eat liver, but people who do go crazy for it.

Jade said...

oohhhh...that just oozes luxury..I was in theatres today and as we were going through proper omentum all I could think about were your oyster patties :(

red | hongyi said...

i took my blogger navbar off (at the top of page) and created a logo on the address bar. want that done to urs too?

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

wahhh~ I like this! Hou Hou Sek!

gill gill said...

i've always wanted to try pig omentum to wrap up some food for experiment, hard to get this good stuff but you have to ask the pork seller/butcher to reserve this for you.

Lilian, your dad really a good cook. this kind of wrap doesn't have many ppl know how to do it in these days. its kinda old school thingy.

oh ya, i found the picture omentum online, here:

terri@adailyobsession said...


lunchguy: chicken mousse crispy fried! never had tt. sounds like a savory fried ice cream :0

sonia: tt sounds even better!

anncoo: :)

trish: u ur photos r always inspiring!

milosh: i would try it if i were you. it sounds yum. sinful but yum.

jade: what?? you r a hungry doctor...n very good at switching off bc i don't think i'll think of food if i had to look into a human body..

terri@adailyobsession said...

yi: when i get there, we'll re-design my blog:))

Domestically Challenged said...

These were delicious. A great CNY recipe. And I found out that the Siamese cats have a taste for dried oysters.

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