My late grandmother, of Hakka descent, always make deep-fried oyster balls during Chinese New Year. I remember the would wrap in caul fat; it looked like a see-through net which the kid in me found incredibly fascinating.
As an adult, I truly enjoy the taste and texture of this dish – it’s out of the world! It’s one up from meat balls; perhaps the it’s the morcel of oyster in each of them which contributes to its umami flavour. The rare ingredient, caul fat, when fried, gives it extra flavour and crispy texture.
Both dried oyster and water chestnut are auspicious food.
What is caul fat?
Caul fat is a thin membrane that surround the stomach of animals like cows and pigs. It’s normally used as casing for sausages. If you don’t want to use caul fat, try using bean curd skin instead.
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Mince pork (shoulder loin) x 700 g
Fish paste x 500 g
Oyster x 15 pcs
Caul fat x 400 g
Water chestnut x 12 pcs
Salt x 2 tsp
Sugar x 1 tsp
White pepper x 1/8 tsp
Cooking oil (suggestion: peanut oil)
Wok + steam rack
Knife + peeler + chopping board
Mixing bowl + spoon (to mix ingredients)
Plate (for steaming)
- Chop dried oyster and water chestnut. Peel water chestnut. Chop water chestnut and dried oysters into small pieces.
- Mix. In a large mixing bowl, pour in minced pork, fish paste, chopped dried oyster and water chestnut. Sprinkle salt, sugar and white pepper. Mix well.
- Wrap. Take a spoonful of mixed meat and place onto caul fat. Wrap it tightly
Wrapping it all in caul fat
- Steam. Steam stuffed dried oyster until cooked.
- Fry. Deep fry until golden brown and crispy.
- Dish out and serve. Dish out to a large plate.
- Buy prepared ingredients. While this dish is not difficult to make, it is time consuming. Do get prepared fish paste and minced meat, instead of making your own.
- Pre-order caul fat. This is not easily available as it’s not a popular ingredient. Do order it ahead from your butcher.
- Freezer-friendly. I like to make this a week ahead Chinese New Year. After steaming them, I’ll freeze them in a container. Come reunion dinner, just thaw it and fry. So convenient!
- Bake. Instead of frying, you can bake it in the oven too. It can still turn golden brown if you turn on the broiler function.