Braised Sea Cucumber, Woodear Mushrooms 红烧海参黑木耳

It eases joint pain. It reduces arthritis pain. It is high protein food, and almost has no (or low) cholesterol. Dad loves it and Mom does not mind it. Throughout my observations these years, older generation typically appreciate this delicacy, more so than youngsters. My elder brothers dislike it, just like most of my friends. They will not eat it at all. I don't mind. My taste buds are easy to tame. I actually enjoy it especially when it cooked well to perfection. In the school of love, this can be described as soft pillowy almost melt-in-your-mouth, not anywhere near slimy as many in the school of hate might claim.

Ol' Mighty Sea Cucumber. You big fat slug. And since you aid wound healing, I should eat you more often (in view of my injury) and eat you now.

Of course I did not cook this Braised Sea Cucumber, Woodear Mushrooms 红烧海参黑木耳. I don't even know where to buy sea cucumber in the US. But my friend saw the frozen version in the Asian supermarket one day and decided to cook it (so I get a chance to try it too!)

Typically sea cucumber 海参 come in dried form and have to be soaked for 12 hours or more.That is why they are usually served in special banquets with advanced order required. In Singapore, my family usually enjoy sea cucumber once a year - during Chinese New Year, when the sea cucumber will be cooked together with other vegetables in a soup. Then a scene of "pass the parcel" - my brothers will pick out all the sea cucumber in their bowls of soup, and these sea cucumbers land themselves in my parents' bowls.  I just eat my share, diligently! Good girl! HA!

These frozen versions were much easier to prepare since they do not have to be soaked for days. However, according to my friend, they do need some cooking time (to braise) before the sea cucumber turns soft. Here, she cooked it with some ginger and green onions braised with woodear mushrooms. It was a success in my opinion and I even told her it was restaurant-quality level.

Sea cucumber, a cartilagenous body, is a rich source of mucopolysaccharides, mainly chondroitin sulfate, that helps builds collagen and cartilage (no wonder it is good for easing joint pain and wound healing). Sea cucumber also nourishes the blood and strengthen the kidney.You can read more about sea cucumber, its uses and benefits (including health benefits) at the website.

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