Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stir-fry Cabbage with Sakura Ebi

I bought some dried Sakura Ebi  (樱花虾) from my recent vacation trip to Japan.  This is how it looks like, very much like our local dried shrimps, except it is very much lighter in weight:

The first time I saw Sakura Ebi was during my trip to Taiwan a few years back.  I remembered the Sakura Ebi was packaged as a snack, rather than some dried goods.  This time, I saw big packets of dried Sakura Ebi sold in the market.  The stall-assistant (a undergraduate student working as a part-timer) told me that this is a common ingredient used in Japanese cooking, such as for tempura (Kaki-age) and Japanese pancake (Okonomiyaki).  Over the internet, I found that you can also prepare sakura ebi steamed rice or simply sprinkle fried sakura ebi over fried rice or pasta.

Today's experimentation is a simple stir-fry cabbage sprinkled with fried Sakura Ebi.  Basically, I just replaced our usual dried shrimp (hei bee) with Sakura Ebi.  But take note that the texture is different, so cooking method has to vary (Sakura ebi is crispy while our dried shrimp is hard and dry, which requires pre-soaking and longer cooking time).  

Stir-fry Cabbage with Sakura Ebi

1) Heat little oil in wok over low heat, fry sakura ebi till almost crispy (takes about a minute).  Push to one side and add chopped garlic, stir-fry lightly.  Combine sakura ebi and garlic together.  Set aside.  

2) Heat oil in wok, add a thumb-sized piece of mashed ginger.  Add cabbage, carrot and stir-fry lightly.  Season lightly with salt (or soya sauce) and cover wok to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

3) When cabbage is cooked, turn off heat, add half the fried sakura ebi to the vegetables, give it a stir and serve.

4) Sprinke remaining sakura ebi on top.

As I am cooking this veggie dish for tonight's dinner, I am thinking of another way to use this fried Sakura Ebi - sprinkle over cold tofu with shredded seaweed, bonito flakes, sesame seeds and served with dressings (shoyu, mirin and sesame oil).    Should be a delightful appetiser dish.

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