February 14, 2018
Packed with a variety of different ingredients, pen cai is a great way to satisfy everybody's taste buds. This version of the Hakka pen cai uses a light broth flavoured with seafood and meat instead of the usual braised sauce.
1To prepare the sea cucumber: One day before cooking the pen cai, wash the sea cucumber and leave to soak overnight. The next day, wash again and continue soaking.
2When the texture becomes soft enough to be cut, use a pair of scissors to snip down the length of one side.
3Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the sea cucumber for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and continue soaking. Repeat this procedure three times.
4Clean out its intestines and portion into 8cm-long pieces. Set aside.
5To make the stock: Place the soya beans, chicken bones and chicken feet in a deep pot. Pour water in and bring to a boil.
6Stir in the oyster sauce, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Boil for at least 1 hour and set aside.
7To assemble the pen cai: In a large claypot, place a flat steaming tray at the bottom. This is to prevent ingredients from getting burnt. Place the napa cabbage, yam, and mushrooms at the base of the pen cai as these ingredients take longer to cook.
8Add the chicken, duck, roast pork, fish maw, sea cucumber, prawns, dried oysters, scallops, tendon, abalone and black moss.
9To the stock, add the liquid from the canned abalone and the water the mushrooms were soaked in. You should end up with about 2 litres. Then, pour the stock into the claypot. There should be enough stock to cover all the ingredients. If it is insufficient, add more water.
10Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 30 mins. Ensure the liquid does not dry up. If necessary, add more stock or water.
11Season to taste and serve hot.
Recipe: Chef Then Chui Foong/Euraco Finefood / Photo: Alvin Ho/The Straits Times