My late grandmother used to always make a huge plate of deep-fried oyster balls during Chinese New Year. I remember she would wrap it in caul fat, something that looked like a see-through net which the kid in me found incredibly fascinating. 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 this ball extra flavour and crispy texture. What is caul fat?
AUSPICIOUS INGREDIENTS: DRIED OYSTER & WATER CHESTNUT
The Chinese always serve auspicious sounding dishes during Chinese New Year. Now I know why my grandmother made this for her favourite festival. Dried oyster in Chinese is called (蠔豉; ho xi), which sounds similar to ‘good things’ or ‘good luck’. While water chestnut (荸薺; bíqí) represents unity. These are the things she wished for her family.
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. More about caul fat…
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)