16 March 2011

Down With Shark-Fin Soup

California is about to ban the sale of Shark-Fins. Nice of them to make a move just before sharks go extinct. The practice of finning sharks is cruel and barbaric and wasteful. The fishermen pull the shark onboard cut off the fins and toss the creature overboard to die a slow and painful death or to be killed by other sharks. If fins were the by product of harvesting sharks that would be acceptable--if the shark population were sustainable and not on the verge of extinction. We are at a crossroads where our action or inaction will have profound effects upon all life on Earth, including ours.

But for those of you who pine for Shark-Fin Soup, try this:

Faux Shark Fin Soup
Peter Pahk, Kingsmill Resort, Virginia, 11 March 2011
1 ounce Chinese black mushrooms (shiitake)
8-10 pieces of dried tree ear mushrooms
2 ounces cellophane noodles
2 ounces skinless raw chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
2 ounces lean raw pork, sliced into thin strips
2 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil
White pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Soak the black mushrooms, tree ear mushrooms and cellophane noodles separately in hot water for 4 hours until they soften. Drain well.
2. Remove the hard stems of the black mushrooms (you can save them to cook with other Chinese soups) and cut the remaining pieces into small strips. Chop the tree ear mushrooms into small pieces and cut the cellophane noodles into 1-inch pieces with scissors. Set aside.
3. Bring broth and water to a boil. Add chicken, pork, and mushrooms and cook until all ingredients are cooked through and softened. Add the cellophane noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and salt to taste.
4. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to make a thick slurry. Return the soup to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and beaten egg and mix well. Remove from heat and serve in small bowls.

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