One week from now, Chinese will be celebrating the new rooster year on January 28. I’m pretty sure, for many, some preparation has begun to welcome the new year. Among the important ones will be the family reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese new year. For some, serving shark fin soup during the dinner is probably considered a symbol of status, prosperity or even gratefulness for a good outgoing year. This is because shark fin is rare and expensive.
Though expensive, shark fin does not have any taste of its own. The taste of the shark fin soup comes from the chicken and/or crab and/or pork broth that was prepared much earlier before the shark fin is added into the soup at the final stage of the soup preparation. In fact, some researches have shown that shark fin does not even have any nutritional values. Most people like shark fin for its gelatinous texture only.
This recipe intents to replicate shark fin soup without using the normal shark fin soup’s main ingredient. Shark fin melon is used as a replacement for shark fin. Rest assure that not only no sharks were harmed in the making, there are also no chicken, crab, pig or any other animals that will be harmed in this recipe compared to the normal or traditional shark fin soup recipe. 🙂
This recipe was created after some researches, trials and errors after tasting many vegetarian shark fin soup. I try to use as much natural ingredient as possible. Most vegetarian shark fin soup I tasted uses mock shark fin and/or mock meat as part of the main ingredient, something I try to avoid. Hope you enjoy it.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
|Shark fin melon||500g|
|Chinese mushroom||2 pieces|
|Dried radix Angelica (danggui)||1 piece|
|Vegetarian oyster sauce||2 tablespoon|
|White pepper||2 shakes|
|Sesame oil||1 teaspoon|
|Olive oil||1 teaspoon|
|Black vinegar||up to personal liking|
Preparation (starts around 6-7 hours before serve)
- Cut the shark fin melon to 1 inch thick.
- Place the cut shark fin melon into a slow cooker with 800ml of water and cook it until the flesh become soft (this could take up to 5 hours).
- Soak 2 pieces of Chinese mushroom in 200ml of water.
- Once the mushroom is soft, cut into small shreds. I prefer to use scissors to cut because it is easier to control compared to knife. Leave the cut mushroom back into the water.
- Cut the carrot into the length of 1-2 inches. Then, slice them into thin pieces. The best way to do this is to use a crater. After that, cut them into shreds. You might want to take the carrot out of the fridge earlier for it to get to room temperature. This way, it will not break easily when you cut it into thin shreds.
- Cut off the volva (the very bottom part) of the enoki mushroom. Then, cut the stem to the length of 1-2 inches. When reaching the cap (the top part), dice it to a size of around 1/2 cm.
- When the shark fin melon is soft, take it out from the pot but do not throw away the water. Some good stuffs are in the water after about 5 hours of cooking. There will be around 500-600ml of water left in the pot.
- Segregate the flesh from the skin and the seed.
Cooking (start 1/2-1 hour before serve)
- Take 400ml of the shark fin melon water and 200ml of mushroom water and put it in the pot together.
- Put the carrot strips and radix angelica into the water and boil them at high temperature.
- When the water is boiling, add 2 tablespoon of vegetarian oyster sauce and add 2 shakes of white paper.
- When the carrot is soft, add the Chinese mushroom and let it boil for another minute.
- Then, add the enoki mushroom. Stir the mixture and let it boil for another minute.
- Take out the radix angelica from the pot.
- Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir until everything is mix well.
- Bring the temperature to low and add the shark fin melon. Stir again until everything is well mix in the pot.
- Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with 100ml of shark fin melon water. Stir well until all the cornstarch is diluted into the water.
- Add the cornstarch mixture into the pot and stir well until the cornstarch mixture is evenly mix in the rest of the soup.
Now the shark fin melon soup is ready to be served! Served it with black vinegar on the side. I recommend adding the black vinegar 1 teaspoon at a time into the bowl and taste if it suits individual preference.