Monday, February 2, 2009
Fish maws are recognised in China as one of the four “Kings of the Sea”
Fish maw is the air bladder of the fish. Its main function is to receive and expel huge qualities of water and/or oxygen so that fish can ascend and descend in the water. This makes the bladder very strong and elastic. Fish maw is mostly used in the preparation of thick soup. It is effective in relieving coughs, helps blood circulation and beneficial for the general health.
Fish maws are sold dried in two forms – deep fried or non-deep dried. Deep fried fish maws are puffy, light and look like a yellow sponge or pork rind. Whereas the other type is in stiff, cream-colored sheets. Most recipes that require fish maw will tell you how to prepare it and they may vary. Some requires you to simmer it while others simply soak it using cold water. Basically, all fish maw should be deep-fried before anything else. If you bought the non-deep fried one, deep fry it in moderately hot oil until it puffs up and become white. Then soak it until pliable, rinse and scrub clean. Squeeze out the excess water after the soak to remove the oil.
Fish maws carries an excellent source of protein and a host of minerals, vitamins, iron and iodine. A substance, collagen, adds to the virtures as it is believed this complex structural beauty protein helps the skin to remain radiant and youthful. It has and will always be a legendary food to many wealthy people, especially those with lung illnesses, to consume loads of fish maws. The Chinese medicine-man perceived it to have the medicinal properties, to repair damaged tissues.
The price of fish maw is far from cheap and it's one of the luxury ingredients in Chinese cuisine.