Here is one dish that all Cantonese families will be familiar with - 大姨妈嫁女 (briefly translated as: maternal eldest aunt's daughter is getting married). "Huh... you mean yee ma actually cooked this dish when her daughter got married???".... I asked my mum when she first told me the name of this dish. The truth is everyone calls it this way for many generations. So now, I also tell my little gal this is "大姨妈嫁女" (hee.... she looks at me with a "huh" expression ...)
One possible explanation (I read from the internet) is this dish is such a common household dish that everyone is familiar with and knows how to prepare it with ease. The ease of preparing this dish is associated with the way the eldest aunt marries off her daughter. As the aunt has many daughters, she became very familiar with the details and rituals in marriage. So, when you cook this dish, it is as easy & familiar as the aunt who marries off her daughter. If you know of any other versions of how the name of this dish came about, please do share it with us over here cos I would really love to know it.
Indeed, this simple household dish is really easy to prepare, but you need some practice to make it taste good. Basic ingredients: dried prawns, marrow green and vermicelli (I added Chinese mushrooms, carrots and sweet bean sticks). Basic steps: Heat oil, add garlic, chopped dried prawns. Add marrow green & stir-fry, add water, simmer. Lastly, add in vermicelli, cook till soft and gravy thickens. The sweetness of the dried prawns and the marrow green is fully soaked up by the vermicelli and goes very well with rice.
1/2 marrow green (节瓜), cut into thin strips (amount of marrow green used is about 2 to 3 times of carrot)
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
2 Chinese mushrooms, soaked & cut into thin strips
2 pieces sweet bean sticks （甜竹), soaked & cut into thin strips
1 small bunch of vermicelli （粉丝), soaked, drain off water
Small handful dried prawns (about 2 - 3 tbsp), soaked for few minutes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, smashed
A little oyster sauce (to taste)
1) Heat a little oil in wok to moderately hot. Add in ginger, garlic and dried prawns. When you can smell the aroma from the garlic/dried prawns, add in the marrow green and carrot (add a pinch of salt). Stir fry to combine the ingredients in the wok. Cover for about a minute. Add sufficient water (cover about 7 parts of contents in wok), cover and let it simmer at low heat for about 15 minutes. In between, give it a few stir and add oyster sauce to taste.
2) Add in the sweet bean sticks and vermicelli. Let it simmer again till vermicelli turns soft and absorbs most of the gravy. There is no need to thicken the gravy with cornstarch. The gravy should be just sufficient, not too little (it will taste dry) or too much (it will not be as flavourful).
I will be sharing this dish with Edith of Precious Moments at Heritage Food Trail.