Chinese Jellyfish Salad

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Sunday, May 22, 2011


I HAVE never heard of jellyfish being edible until I worked for the National Centennial Commission of the Philippines. In the NCC office, I became close with our office secretary, Claudia, who was a delight to work with. We would go shopping together and in one of those shopping forays, she brought me to her favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered cold jellyfish salad. I had my doubts since at first, I thought it was going to be blobs of clear jellyfish meat. Then I found out, it was marinated dried jellyfish strips in a savory sauce. I was intrigued at first and hesitantly took a bit, it was wonderful!

Good jellyfish salad is slightly sour, savory with a hint of sesame oil in the after taste. The jellyfish strands should be chewy and not tough. Here in Korea, jellyfish salad is quite popular as a side dish or a main course. Ready-to-mix packs are available in big grocery stores like E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Hyundai grocery stores. The packs include about 500 grams of prepared dried jellyfish, julienne vegetables (like carrots, cucumbers and leeks), plus a savory-spicy mustard sauce.

There are two kinds of jellyfish sold in most Chinese or Oriental stores – the whole, dried sheets and the pre-sliced ones. The whole sheets are amber in color (the best ones to get) and should be dry and flaccid to the touch. The pre-sliced ones come salted and are usually in 500 grams, 700 grams to one-kilo packs.

To prepare the jellyfish sheets, roll the sheet into a tight roll and cut into ½ centimeter strips, about as big as the width of fettuccine pasta. Then, it’s a matter of getting rid of the salt from the preserved jellyfish.

To prepare the jellyfish for the salad, you need to blanch it several times in boiling water, alternating with cold-water baths. Heat up a big pot of water until it boils. With a metal wire basket or strainer, dump the jellyfish strands in it and wash it under running water until you see all the excess salt dissolve away. Dunk the jellyfish in hot water.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 22, 2011.

Lifestyle

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