This is one of my favorite dishes. My mum will always prepare this dish on special occasions, such as the Lunar New Year period (without fail), mid-autumn festival, dongzhi festival or on our birthdays. In the past, we do not get to eat this dish on normal days, as Chinese mushrooms and sea cucumbers are expensive stuffs. Quality Chinese mushrooms from Japan are pricey, so I'd usually settle for the more affordable China mushrooms, which costs me about S$10 for 300g (I think it costs double or triple for the one from Japan?). But, nowadays, even the mushrooms from Japan does not taste the same as before. Can't be help, since even the chicken and pork taste quite different from the past, included those labelled as "kampong chicken" or "kampong pork".
I had prepared this dish in my earlier post over here. Method is the same, except that this round, I replaced the chicken bones with pork front hock, which has more collagen and gives a richer and thicker gravy. Also, this time round, I used a thicker type of sea cucumber which requires longer simmering time. To save time and money, add in the sea cucumber (after brief stir-fry with a few slices of ginger) to the mushrooms in the last hour of simmering.
As this dish always taste better the next day, prepare this dish one day in advance. For me, that means preparation starts the night before, set to simmer in a slow-cooker, next day switch to high (or auto mode) and add the sea cucumber and simmer till the sea cucumber becomes soft.