Steamed oysters with green tea noodles August 11, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Seafood.
Tags: Lunch, Snacks
Once again, this dish was born out my attempt to replicate what I’d had previously at a restaurant. In this case, steamed oysters topped with three different sauces: ginger, black bean sauce, and chili. As I’d never made black bean sauce before, I decided it was time I learned to make that at home too. I decided to pair these with green tea noodles, mostly because my meat mincer came with a noodle attachment and I hadn’t had a chance to use it yet! Green tea flavour seemed like a good pairing, providing some additional flavours without being too overpowering.
I should say from the outset that I am a big fan of oysters – both raw and cooked – but I understand that some people have issues with the texture of raw oysters. Steaming the oysters are a good way to build up to eating raw ones – the texture firms up in only a couple minutes and you can add whatever flavours you wish.
I started by making the noodles and sauces required before I steamed the oysters. I started with the black bean sauce. If you’ve never seen (or smelled!) fermented black beans, here’s what they look like:
They look harmless enough – and the smell is not….unpleasant – but it is quite strong. Imagine what black bean sauce smells like – then amplify it by about 100 and add some more funkiness – and that’s what the fermented black beans smell like! To make the actual black bean sauce, I used the recipe found in this post (scroll down). I rinsed the beans, then added garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch and sesame oil – but did not add the optional chilis, as I was planning a separate chili sauce for some of the oysters. While this doesn’t look very nice, I was pleased with the end black bean result:
At this time, I also grated some ginger with a microplane and added a little bit of sesame oil to it to make the ginger sauce. For the chili sauce, I toasted some dried chilis before mincing them in the blender and adding some water to make a chili slurry/paste. Once they were all ready, I set to work on making the green tea noodles.
While I had Japanese green tea soba noodles in mind, I must confess I did not use buckwheat flour and used my normal pasta ratio to make the noodles. I subtracted about 15 grams of flour and substituted in matcha powder, which is powdered green tea. I then used the handy noodle attachment on my meat mincer to form the noodles – with H’s help of course.
I wasn’t sure how much matcha powder to add and as you can see the noodles turned out very green! It took a while to feed all the dough through but eventually we were rewarded by a bowl full of bright green noodles.
I then set to work preparing the oysters. I spooned small amounts of the different sauces onto the oysters. Having already tasted the chili sauce and having what can only be described as a severe response (mouth still burning 5 minutes later), I was sure to use this one sparingly! I used the other two in larger quantities. I have two steamer baskets and was able to fit 6 oysters on each steamer, so I was able to steam 12 oysters at once. I set up my wok with some boiling water in it, and steamed the oysters for about 3-4 minutes.
At the same time, I also cooked the noodles – like the oysters, this only took a few minutes. I cooled them down in some ice water.
By this time, everything was ready. I used the noodles as a base and added the oysters on top – making sure there was an equal distribution of flavours. Here’s the final result.
I tried one of each of the sauces, trying to work out which one I preferred the best. The ginger sauce was tangy and refreshing, with the sesame oil adding a nice aftertaste. The chili sauce provided a good contrast to the oysters, adding heat without being overpowering (at least in the quantity I used!). But I must say that the black bean sauce was my favourite – it was earthy and rich while still letting the flavour of the oyster come through.
This was such a simple dish to prepare and was well worth the effort. And Nero Wolfe fans – don’t fear! I was in the mood for more asian flavours so decided to go with these trio of sauces, but next time I’ll be sure to follow the Nero Wolfe way of making oysters, and decide which version I prefer.