Fat Choy, or 发菜, is a traditional New year’s food, at least in the Zhejiang area. It’s a type of alge and its Chinese name is homophonous with get rich (发财). It consists of countless thin strings and is flavourless; however, the intertwining of those fibers makes it a flavour sponge…. Soooo good. It’s great for soups, stewing and stirfrying.
Mushrooms are also a flavour sponge and bring a nice chewy texture as well as a deep unami flavour. The bamboo shoots add a crunch element, and the structure of the shoots resembles a ladder. This is supposed to encourage upwards movement in the new year. Here’s the recipe:
Fat Choy with Mushrooms and Bamboo shoots
- 10-15g dried Fat choy, soaked overnight (should yield 2-300g)
- 7-8 dried button mushrooms, soaked at least 1-2hrs- sliced
- 150-200g bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
- 1cup stock
- 1/2 cup mushroom liquid
- Heat water in a pot and parboil the bamboo shoots for about 2 min. Drain and set aside
- Heat a wok to medium-high, add a bit of oil. Stirfry the bamboo shoots and mushrooms with some salt for 2-3min, or until the mushrooms are quite softened. Remove from heat and set aside
- Add a bit more oil in the wok and sir fry the Fat Choy for 2-3 min. Put the mushrooms and bamboo shoots back in and stir fry for another minute or so.
- Add the stock, mushroom liquid and more salt if necessary. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!