Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oyster and Dumpling Noodle Soup

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there! I hope your celebration today is a memorable one.

My family did not celebrate father's day today, though everybody is together today -- because we celebrated the first birthday of my nephew and godson -- baby Jayce Jayce! Will show you his wonderful birthday cake as soon as I get the picture from my brother. So, stay tuned!

But I am celebrating Father's day in my own blogging way. I would like to honor two men today.

I am blessed to have a wonderful father. He is a strict disciplinarian. How else would he be able to raise up 5 obsessive-compulsive girls? I do not know how he did it. He never spanked us nor threaten to spank us (That was Mommy's role). But whenever we would even try to do something naughty, mom would just say, "wait until your father hears about it." And that would be enough to make us behave. (And yes, I am trying that line with my children too. Amazingly, it works!) He also observes strict curfew hours. When I was still dating my boyfriend (now Hubby), he would always wait up for me, no matter how late I reach home. That alone was enough to make me feel guilty as I know he still has work the next day.

Daddy is a very good provider. He had to stop schooling and start working when he was just 16 because Grandpa died then. The burden of earning money for Grandma and his brother and sisters fell on his shoulders since he was the eldest son. He took on many different jobs. He was able to feed his family and send his brother and sisters to school. When he and mom got married, they were able to start a home business that continues to this day. He had no school diploma but he had plenty of work experiences. I think that was also the primary reason why he wants us to excel in school. He also wants us to go to the best schools. Now that we kids have all finished college (2 of us have post-graduate degrees), he proudly tells his friends that we are smarter than he is! We owe what we have to Daddy!

I am also blessed to have a wonderful father of my kids. I have written about him many years ago which I posted here. I wrote it on the seventh year of our marriage. Looking back, nothing has changed. Well, except perhaps the way we look - we certainly look older than we were before, I think we have expanded a wee bit of our waistline (we both love to eat!) But our dreams, our hopes for our children are still there. We still have fun together. We talk and talk and still are the best of friends.

I am sharing with you a dish Hubby, the father of my kids, cooked himself. This dish is a marriage of our favorite ingredients. I love oysters. He loves dumplings. And the resulting dish is as colorful and as flavorful as our marriage.

We used ready-made pork and shrimp dumplings Jiao Zi bought from a Chinese deli owned by a Taiwanese. The picture is taken from Wikipedia. (I was not able to take a picture of the uncooked dumpling. It was Hubby who cooked.) Chinese dumpling is usually made with ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of round dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together. I have tried to make dumplings before (I have yet to do a post on that.) And believe me, it was not easy!

Dumpling is not be confused with Shu Mai or Wanton. Dumplings have a thicker chewier skin (because of the different dough mixture used.) They also have a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (That is why they are called Jiao Zi - it is shaped like a horn.) source: Wikipeadia. Dumplings are usually steamed or fried eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce with the option of adding chillies. But sometimes, we just boil the dumplings in soup, just like in this dish.

1 pack (around 20 pcs) pork and shrimp dumplings
300 gms fresh oyster meat
10 pcs Kani or crabsticks
4 slices ginger
4 T garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
5 C pork broth (I made broth from pork bones)
100 gms watercress, washed, cut into bite-sized pieces
250 gms fresh hand-pulled noodles (available from your Asian groceries)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Saute ginger in a little cooking oil. When they turn a bit golden brown, add the onions and garlic. When fragrant, add the oysters. Stir fry for a while. At this point, you have the option to take the cooked oysters out of the pan. (Leave the juices in the pan.) Because if the oysters are further cooked, they will become smaller and more chewy.

2. Add the pork broth. Bring to a boil. When it boils, add the dumplings. Cook the dumplings for 5 minutes or until they float up the broth. Add the hand-pulled noodles. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until noodles are cooked al dente.

3. Return the oysters to the noodle soup. Also add in the crabsticks and the watercress.

4. Serve immediately.

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