Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Braised Mushroom and Pig Trotter with Sea Cucumber (香菇海参焖猪脚)

What are comfort foods? They are foods that soothe the psyche, mostly are those food that reminding us of comforting childhood memories. For most of us, these foods are far from gourmet and generally epitomize home cooking. They invoke feelings of nostalgia, safety, and security. Did I hit the spot? Yes? Haha...

Braised Mushroom, Sea Cucumber and Pig Trotter. This is actually one of my childhood dish that I will only get to eat once a year during Chinese New Year. Since I said it is my childhood dish, of course, this is also my mother's recipe.

I cooked this about 8 months ago I think. But I wait till now then I post this recipe up. My mother passed this recipe to me, and I just do it accordingly. No more, no less. With that, I whipped up the dish that is exactly the same as the one my mother cook.

This dried seafood dish is expensive. Ingredients are costly. And probably because of it's high cost, we only get to eat it once a year.

Here, these are the ingredients that you need. You can get all of them from Chinatown wet market.

  • 2 Shop-bought roasted pig trotter 烧猪脚, about 880gm (you could use raw pig trotter also)
  • 1pc Sea Cucumber 海参, buy pre-soaked one at the market, about 250g
  • 10pc Dried Chinese Mushroom 香菇
  • 1pc Dried Cuttlefish 鱿鱼干 / 铞片, about 25g
  • 10pc Dried Oysters 耗干, about 50g
  • 10pc Dried Scallops 干贝, about 50g
  • 40g Garlic 蒜头 / 香蒜  (I used fragrant garlic)  
  • 50g Ginger 姜
  • 2tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce 李锦记特制耗油
  • 1tbsp Dark Soy Sauce 黑酱油
  • 1tbsp Sugar 糖
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt 盐
  • 1L Water 水
  • Corn Starch (est. 1tbsp corn flour / tapioca flour 薯粉 / 钛白粉 + 3tbsp water 水)

Note :

1) You could get roasted pig trotter at wet market. I got mine from Chinatown. I know it's difficult to get it over Chinese New Year. Try to get it in advance. Bring home, wrap it nicely and you could freeze it and cook it a week later. I did it. No problem at all. Oh yes! Remember to get them to cut into big chunk for you. If not, you will have hard time to chop it yourself at home.

2) If you can't get roasted pig trotter, you could use raw pig trotter too. But you have to blanch it before you use. But of course, roasted pig trotter gives better taste in overall.

3) Pre-soaked sea cucumber too, you could get it from wet market. Available at tofu and fishballs stall. Price usually slightly more expensive during Chinese New Year.

4) Try to use Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce if you could. Especially for this dish. Yes, this is more expensive. About S$6.50 during promo and it should be S$6.85 at a normal price at NTUC. But I swear that this taste the nicest of all.

  1. Soak dried mushrooms the night before. Drain and and squeeze away the water. 
  2. Rinse dried cuttlefish, give it a good rub, snipped into pieces.
  3. Dried oyster washed and soaked. Discard the water once the dried oyster soaked till swollen.
  4. Dried scallops washed and soaked. Take away the scallops from water once scallop size expanded. Keep the water. We can use it for cooking later.
  5. Ginger and Garlic - Skinned off, and bruised.
  6. Cut pre-soaked Sea Cucumber into big pieces. 
This is how it looks like, and it's ready to cook.

This is the Sea Cucumber that I got from the wet market. This cost me about S$12 per piece. I'm not feeding the whole village. I only need 1 piece. I don't have to soak dried sea cucumber on my own. If I do, it takes 3 days to do so. This is too time consuming. 

Cut them into big chunks. Don't cut them too small. Because once you braise it later, sea cucumber will "melt" abit. If the sea cucumber too small, it might end up gone vanished! Hahaha...

  1. In a big wok, heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil. Fry garlic and ginger till fragrant. 
  2. Add in pig trotter pieces, cuttlefish and mushroom, fry for a minute. 
  3. Add sugar, salt, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce. Fry for another 5 minutes or so. Until you smell the fragrant. Heat off. Prepare a pot (I use slow cooker).
  4. Dish up pig trotter pieces and put it at the bottom of a pot as 1st layer. 
  5. Pour in the mushrooms and cuttlefish on top of the pig trotter as 2nd layer.
  6. Add in 1L Water, and also the flavorful water that you used to soak the scallop, put dried scallops on top as 3rd layer. Water level should cover the mushroom level nicely. Not too much, not too little. If not enough water, add more. Do take note, you are not cooking a pot of soup. If too much water, it will affect the taste of the dish.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and braise it for 45 to 50mins. DO NOT disturb or flip the dish during braising! After 45 to 50mins, mushrooms should be soft and flavorful by now.
  8. Add in sea cucumber pieces as 4th layer. Continue to braise for another 10 to 15mins, or once sea cucumber soften, it is ready. If your sea cucumber is bigger piece, it might need to braise slightly longer. You just have to eyeball it yourself. 

To Serve
  1. Gently scoop the sea cucumber and scallops aside. Scallops are now soft and fragile, try not to break it. If you break it, it won't looks nice in appearance. And this is why I said, DO NOT flip or disturb the dish during the braising process. We wanna maintain the ingredient in nice piece. If you flip it, you will break the scallops into pieces, and it won't looks nice anymore. Pig trotters are soft, and it will also torn into pieces. 
  2. Dish up the rest of the ingredients, arrange them nicely on a plate. Leaving the sauce behind.
  3. Put scallops and sea cucumber on top of the dish.
  4. Now, strain the sauce. Try not to skip this. Straining the sauce gives you nice and clean looking sauce in appearance. 
  5. Reheat the strained sauce in a saucepan. Taste. Adjust to your preferred saltiness if necessary. But to me, not necessary.
  6. Once the taste is right and it's heated, add in some corn starch to kinda slightly thicken it. Eyeball it yourself. If you want thicker sauce, you just add more corn starch. 
  7. Pour the thickened sauce on top of the dish. It will give the dish a beautiful glaze look. 
  8. Garnish, and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Step 5 : Reheating strained sauce.

While I'm writing this post, my tummy actually rumbling so loudly. Look at those golden brown color yummy pieces of dried seafood, I really feel like eating it now. How I wish I could turn this photo into real dish in just a click! Hahaha...

Urgh! My plate too small. I know. This is the only large plate I have back then. So, I just make do with it la.

It is a time consuming dish. But this is the most significant dish in my family's reunion dinner! I'm so so so proud of my mama for this dish. I just can't help sharing this recipe to everybody :)

I'm gonna cook this again over Chinese New Year. Yumms! :)


I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.

UPDATE : This is my recent photo that I cooked for my MIL's guests who came over to our place for dinner. Do you like it? :)


  1. Annie, that is so yummy! Pig trotters, my number one favourite. Some more got sea cucumber and dried scallops, I know this is a very delicious and yummilicious dish. Eh, you submitting this to Sonia's CNY Delight 2013??

  2. I am drooling over this dish! So yummy!

    1. Edith, cook lar. I just cook it again today. Hehehe...

  3. Yes, I actually looking something to cook for CNY. So happy to saw this posting.
    Thanks for sharing this delicious family recipe with us :)

    1. DG, If you could use claypot and charcoal stove to cook this, I assure you, the yumms could be even better! :D

  4. Hi Annie, you are right, this is total comfort food, but expensive comfort food haha. I love this dish, and my mum used to make a killer version with lots of mushrooms and sea cucumbr...maybe its time i continue the tradition, have never tried making it before, i think i will try to learn your recipe and surprise mum for this cny :) thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello Esther, it is indeed, we must continue the tradition. If we don't, next time, our child's generation, it will gone vanished. Do try it. I hope you like it :)

    2. Just like sea cucumber... vanished! Hehe

  5. My japanese dried pricky sea cucumber just arrived from shipped today,
    Damn, your braised looks preety damn good,simply drolling me!

  6. I would like to know whether I can use a pressure cooker to cook this receipe

  7. Did anyone notice....yr instructions did not include when to put in the dried oysters?

  8. I notice yr instructions does not include when to put in the dried oysters.....

    1. Hi Yim Chan, Thanks for pointing out. My bad. It should be at Step 6 - Add in 1L Water, and also the flavorful water that you used to soak the scallop, put dried scallops and DRIED OYSTER on top as 3rd layer. Happy Cooking!