If ever there was one dish you would eat just once a year, Ho See Fatt Choy (Braised Oysters and Sea Moss) is one of them. Ho See Fatt Choy is the homonym for good affairs and good fortune, hence it is popularly mentioned as a special dish for the Chinese New Year. Even so, it is not as commonly cooked or eaten.
Fortunately for us, my Ah-Poh (Grand Aunt) prepared this special dish every year on the first day of the Chinese New Year. I grew up enjoying this fragrant and tasty dish as a special New Year treat. I like it so much that I asked her for the recipe and have cooked it every Chinese New Year since Paul and I started our own household. It is a very good thing Paul shares my enthusiasm for this dish.
Ah-Poh used oyster sauce and placed all the ingredients in a slow cooker overnight after the initial sauteing. This stewing made the dried oysters and fatt choy (sea moss) very soft and fragrant. Since I only make a very small portion, I simply cook it on the stove. I omitted the oyster sauce and sometimes add a little soy sauce instead. Dried oysters have a very concentrated flavor and with so many of it in one pot, little to no other ingredients are really necessary.
Always serve Ho See Fatt Choy (Braised Oysters and Sea Moss) with some sang choy (green leaf lettuce). Sang choy provides color and is also a homonym for growing wealth. This dish is certainly a great way to usher in the Chinese New Year.
- ½ lb (225g) dried oysters
- 0.35 oz (10g) dried sea moss
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
- Soak dried oysters in warm water for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
- Soak sea moss in a strainer over a bowl of water for 30 minutes. When sea moss is rehydrated, rinse thoroughly in the strainer under running water. Drain.
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add oysters and stir to coat with oil until fragrant.
- Pour in 1½ cups (360ml) water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Open the lid and do a taste test. Add a little salt if needed and soy sauce if desired.
- Add sea moss. Cover and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Add a little water whenever necessary to allow it to continue simmering. Turn off stove.
- Serve warm with rice.