Dried seafood have very concentrated flavors and are used mainly in congees, soups, and stews. Only a small amount is required.
Chi choy (dried seaweed) usually comes in round sheets. Cut a small piece and soak to soften prior to use mainly in soups.
Fatt choy (dried sea moss) is very fine and has the appearance of hair when dried. It has a soft texture when soaked. The name fatt choy in Cantonese is the homonym for “striking it rich”, hence the popularity of this ingredient in many dishes cooked during the Chinese New Year.
Hae bee (dried shrimps) are used to flavor many dishes. They can be used to make soup stock or fried as a garnish. Dried shrimps should be soaked for a short time before use.
Ho See (dried oysters) are costly and considered a delicacy. They are very flavorful and are added to congees, soups, and stews. Dried oysters should be soaked to soften and carefully washed to remove sand and impurities.
Jiu hu (dried cuttlefish) is usually roasted or grilled before use or eaten as a snack. It is very chewy and has a concentrated flavor.
Dried cuttlefish is hard, chewy, and difficult to cut. Thinly cut strips can be found and are very convenient when just a little is required in stir fries and stews. Simply rinse before use.
Kang Hu (dried anchovies) can be fried and eaten or used in many dishes. They are also often used to make soup stock. Dried anchovies should be peeled to remove the bones and stomach sac. They are usually rinsed or soaked for a short period of time before use.
Kiam Hu (salted fish) is fish preserved or cured with salt or brine. Once considered as “poor man’s food”, it is now deemed a specialty ingredient and can be pretty expensive. Kiam hu can be served directly by frying or added as a flavor enhancer to dishes like steamed pork, steamed chicken, fried noodles, fried vegetables, and even soup.
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