Hed Chef: Mock shark’s fin soup
This is no cheap counterfeit.
I expected mock shark’s fin to be a lame substitute for the real McCoy, but it took me by surprise.
Made from seaweed extract, mock shark’s fin, or at least the version I bought, has that similar springy, chewy, gelatinous texture prized in the real thing.
It has the taste and texture of shark’s fin soup and none of the issues related to shark finning: Increased awareness of irresponsible methods used to harvest fins – sharks are finned alive and thrown back into the sea – has made this delicacy a controversy magnet.
>>> 1kg rehydrated mock shark fin, rinsed
>>> 500g chicken feet
>>> 2 chicken
>>> 2 large pork bones
>>> 2 pieces of dried sea whelk
>>> 3 pieces of dried whelk feet
>>> 4-5 dried scallops
>>> 3 pieces of dried fish maw
>>> 80g pasteurised crab meat
>>> 5 litres of water
>>> 20g to 50g bean sprouts
>>> Coriander for garnish
>>> 2 tbsp potato starch
>>> 2 tbsp water
>>> 5 litres of water
>>> Salt to taste
>>> White pepper
1. Blanch the chicken feet, pork bones and chicken until there is no visible blood. Rinse and place in a clean pot.
2. Fill the pot with 5 litres of water to cover the chicken feet and bones.
3. Add the dried whelk and dried whelk feet.
4. Bring to a boil and keep it boiling, covered, on high heat for an hour.
5. Lower the heat to medium-low and boil covered for another two hours until the chicken feet and bones have disintegrated and the liquid is reduced by half.
6. While the stock is boiling, rinse the dried scallops and place them in a small bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the scallops and soak until they are softened. You can add the soaking liquid to the stock.
7. Set aside the scallops.
8. Filter the stock using a metal sieve or muslin cloth. Discard the ingredients used for boiling the stock.
9. Pour the filtered stock into a clean pot. Add the scallops, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
10. In the meantime, rinse the fish maw.
11. Bring water to boil in a separate pot. Place fish maw in the boiling water for a few minutes until it softens and takes on a sponge-like texture.
12. Remove the fish maw from the pot and set aside to cool. Discard the liquid.
13. Once the fish maw is sufficiently cool to touch, slice into bite-sized pieces.
14. Blanch the bean sprouts briefly to retain their crunchiness.
15. When the scallops in the stock are tender, add the fish maw.
16. Add the mock shark’s fin, bring to a boil, add the crab meat and bring to a boil again.
17. Mix the potato starch with two tablespoons of water. Once the starch is dissolved, add this mixture to the soup while stirring.
18. Season with salt and white pepper. Garnish with bean sprouts and coriander when serving.