Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jellyfish Satay



     Jellyfish Satay!
     Jellyfish Satay is a popular street vendor style food item in Thailand.  Marinated jellyfish strips or pieces are placed on a skewer and grilled over an open flame.  Curry Spices are most often used to flavor Jellyfish Satay.

     Not everybody in the western world knows that Jellyfish is a food item.  Most westerners that know that Jellyfish is a food item usually think of it as being exotic.  In reality, Jellyfish is just a common everyday food choice in most parts of Asia.  Jellyfish is usually sold as a snack or it is sold as a preprepared salad component.
     There are many kinds of saltwater and freshwater Jellyfish.  Only a few species in a specific order of Jellyfish are harvested for human consumption.  The edible species is a type of "Drinking Cup Jellyfish" that live in warm ocean waters between China and Japan.  The size of edible Drinking Cup Jellyfish can range from small to enormous.
     Fresh edible Jellyfish will rot within a few hours no matter how it is handled.  All commercial edible Jellyfish are dried.  The tentacles are removed and the cap is quickly dried before packaging.  Dried Jellyfish look thin and flat.

     Packages of Dried Jellyfish can be found in Asian food markets.  Vacuum Packaged Reconstituted Prepared Dried Jellyfish For Salads is also sold in Asian food markets.  The Jellyfish Salad product is cut into thin strips and a small package of sauce is in the same container.
    Vacuum Packed Jellyfish Salad Strips can be used for today's Satay recipe, but the thin strips will have to be woven around the skewers.  Soaking Dried Jellyfish till they reconstitute, then cutting it into wide ribbons is best, because it is easier to place larger pieces of Jellyfish on a skewer.  Either way, the Satay portion size is usually small, because the flavor is strong.

     What does edible Jellyfish taste like?  Iodine!  Jellyfish contains a very high amount of Iodine and they contain much more Iodine than edible seaweed.
     Because of the Iodine content, Jellyfish have medicinal value.   Edible Jellyfish prevent and curb many kinds of cancer.  Edible Jellyfish is effective for controlling high blood pressure.  Edible Jellyfish also helps to curb thyroid disorders.
     The Iodine in Jellyfish removes radioactive isotopes and heavy metals from soft organ tissues in the human body, especially radioactive compounds that accumulate in the thyroid glands.  So, if there is a nuclear power plant disaster nearby, eating edible Jellyfish can be beneficial.  Eating Jellyfish may also help rid radioactive isotopes from the body after doing chemotherapy too.
     I did a 48 week chemo treatment a few years ago.  This is why I took an interest in edible Jellyfish and wrote a few recipes.  Honestly, after eating Jellyfish for a few days just a few months after the chemo session was completed, I did feel like some kind of toxins were removed from my body.  I actually felt a little better.
     On the other hand, the flavor of Iodine hangs around on the tasting palate for about 2 days.  After eating Jellyfish, anything that you eat for the next 2 days will taste like Iodine or it will taste metallic.  The metallic Iodine flavor carryover on taste buds certainly is an odd sensation.

     *Today's Jellyfish Satay is a platter presentation.  Thai street food vendors usually just sell the Jellyfish Satay by the stick.  I figured that presenting petite portion skewers on a platter with a few other items would be better for folks that have never tasted Jellyfish before.  The Iodine flavor certainly is a shocker, so having a few items on the plate to chase the metallic flavor away is good for beginners.    
     
     Asian Style Cucumber Salad: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of sliced peeled and seeded cucumber in a mixing bowl.
     Add about 6 thin slices of carrot.
     Add 1 green onion that is thin sliced.
     Add 1/4 cup of mung bean sprouts.
     Step 2:  Season with 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of five spice powder.
     Step 4:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Chill the cucumber salad.
     Serve within 1 hour, so the cucumber is still crisp.
 
     Sun Dried Anchovy Wakame Seaweed Salad: 
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Soak a few small pieces of salt packed wakame seaweed in water till they reconstitute.  (About 1 tablespoon.)
     Step 2:  Boil 2 cups of water over high heat in a small sauce pot.
     Add a few small sun dried anchovies.  (About 1 tablespoon.)
     Boil till the seaweed and anchovies become tender.
     Drain the water off the the seaweed and anchovies.
     Allow the seaweed and anchovies to cool to room temperature.
     Step 3:  Place the seaweed and anchovies in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the sun dried anchovy seaweed salad aside.
 
     Chilled Spicy Rice Vermicelli Noodles:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Boil 1 small portion of vermicelli rice noodles in water over high heat.
     When the noodles become tender, cool the noodles under cold running water or shock them in ice water.
     Drain the water off of the noodles.
     Step 2:  Place the cooked vermicelli rice noodles in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Coarse Ground Korean Red Serrano Chile Paste.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 2 blanched snow peas that are cut into very thin strips.
     Add a few thin slices of green onion.
     Step 3:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Chill the noodles in a refrigerator.
 
     Jellyfish Satay Platter Set Up:
     Place a bed of the cucumber salad across the middle of a plate as a bed for the skewers.
     Place the anchovy seaweed salad on one side of the plate.
     Set chilled noodles on the other side of the plate.
     Place a couple of chile oil marinated lotus root slices on one end of the plate.  (Vacuum packaged prepared chile oil marinated sliced lotus root is available in Asian food markets.)
     Place two dollops of Thai Peanut Sauce on the other end of the plate.  (Bottles of Thai Peanut Sauce can be found at nearly any food market.)
 
     Jelly Fish Satay:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in a small bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Thai Yellow Curry Powder or Indian Madras Curry Powder.
     Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 3 tablespoons of water.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Step 2:  Cut 3 ounces of reconstituted dried jellyfish or vacuum packed fresh jellyfish into long thin strips or ribbons.
     Place the jellyfish strips in the marinade and toss the ingredients together.
     Marinate for 2 minutes.
     Step 3:  Thread or weave the marinated jellyfish strips on bamboo skewers.
     Step 4:  Hold the skewers above a low flame or an electric burner that is set on medium heat.  
     Roast over an open flame till the jellyfish is fully cooked and it is lightly caramelized around the edges.
     *It does not take much time to cook jelly fish.  Jellyfish cooks as fast as squid and it shrinks like squid!  Do not allow the skewers to touch the flame or the electric burner.
     Step 5:  Place the Jellyfish Satay skewers on the bed of cucumber salad on the prepared platter.
  
     The Iodine jellyfish flavor and the curry spice marinade is a nice tasting combination!

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