Malaysian Monday 50: Oyster Omelette (Oh-Chien)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Monday everyone.

Bit of a milestone today – my 50th Malaysian Monday post. Little did I think I’d have the energy or enthusiasm to get this far when I first started. And I certainly didn’t think that it would turn into a blog-event! Thank you so much for all your encouragement along the way.

Feeling a little celebratory, I thought I’d get some oysters. Just for me. Well, I would have shared them with Mr. Kitchen Hand, but he’s not here right now, and he also absolutely flat-out refuses to eat oysters. “You do know they’re filter feeders?,” he often likes to point out.

Why yes, yes I do.

In fact, my science brain and my food brain (ie. my stomach) had this conversation earlier today.

Science brainUm, you do remember all those uni. lectures involving heavy metal contamination and  shellfish, don’t you”
Food- brain “Shush!
Science-brain “And you do know you can’t just wash the contaminants off, because they’re like, inside”
Food-brain  - (sticks fingers in ears) “La la la la la”

No one ever accused my stomach of being mature.

Oysters there would be, and hang the consequences!

I wanted to recreate one of my favourite hawker stall (street vendor) dishes – the aforementioned omelette. If this sounds familiar, it’s one of the dishes I mentioned in my post about a hawker centre experience.

The end result was surprisingly close to the original. I say surprisingly because I had to do some substitution and wasn’t sure if it would work. The flavour was pretty spot on, but the texture wasn’t quite right (because of the substitution). The oyster omelette that I remember from my days in Malaysia, is a soft and eggy concoction with a slightly sticky, stretchy base, studded with juicy oysters. Mine turned out almost correct except for the sretchy base, I got some slightly sticky, chewy bits instead.

But it tasted wonderful and took hardly any time at all to prepare, so I’m calling it a success.

Makeshift Oyster Omelette
(inspired by this recipe by Amy Beh)

The recipe I based it on calls for sweet potato flour, which I couldn’t find, so I substituted with potato starch instead.

a) Half a dozen oysters
(I used the large Pacific Oysters). The recipe recommends soaking the oysters….what?!! Do not touch the oysters except to remove them from their shells and tipping them into a bowl with as much oyster-liquid as possible (watch out for grit).

b) 1 slightly heaped tablespoon potato starch (should actually be sweet potato flour)
(I just grabbed a dinner spoon out of the drawer and used that, not a proper tablespoon measure)
c) about 2 tablespoons water
d) pinch of salt

Mix the salt, starch and the water until a smooth mixture is obtained – looks a bit like thin milk.

e) 1 stalk green onion (also called scallions or eschalots)
f) 1 clove of garlic

g) 1 egg beaten, seasoned with a dash of light soy sauce.

h) About 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying.
i) Wedge of lime to serve.

Prepare everything and have it handy near the wok because once you start, everything needs to be done very, very quickly.

Slice the green onion into small rings, save some of the greener bits for garnish. Finely dice the garlic.

Heat  a wok over medium high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat. Stir the starch mixture again if it has settled. Pour the starch mixture into the hot wok and immediately add the egg. Give it a quick stir, then push it aside and add the onion and garlic. Stir-fry the onion and garlic for half a minute or so until it smells good, it doesn’t have to be cooked through. Add the oysters, and draw the egg back, giving it a little stir but be careful, do not work too vigorously, we’re not aiming for scrambled eggs.

It only requires very little cooking after the oysters have been added – the egg should be golden and the oysters should be heated through, that’s about it. Dish up, garnish with reserved green onions,  and serve with a wedge of lime and chilli sauce for dipping.

I’ll be sending this omelette to Nate and Annie from House of Annie, who are hosting this month’s Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up. Visit this link to submit your entries.

Have a great start to the week☺


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A lovely omelet! So original!



Barbara said...

An oyster omelet? Inspired, Shaz! I feel the same way; I know we shouldn't eat them, but I do. Just not all the time. :)
Looks really delicious....I love omelets for a quick meal, but certainly never thought about using oysters.

3 hungry tummies said...

Sweet potato flour will make a big difference and you have to use the coarse type too. Let me know is you want me to send you a few packets :)

chocolatesuze said...

you make me miss malaysia every week with your recreations! i ♥ oyster omelette! esp the gooey bits hehe

shaz said...

Thanks Rosa - I didn't think of it first though, this is a common street food in Malaysia

Cheers Barbara - once in a while is definitely alright ;)

Thank 3HT - He he, you should open a mail order company for hard to source asian ingredients! I'd love a peek at what you've got in store in your pantry.

Thanks chocolatesuze - I felt quite nostalgic eating it today, what with the warm weather and all :)

Anh said...

I tried to make this before, but the texture isn't 100%. Will have another go soon.

Juliana said...

Shaz, how interesting...I though that this dish was Taiwanese...I love this oyster dish, but have not a chance to eat brought me many good memories :-)

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Oyster omelette! We hunted all over Malaysia for good versions of this, when realy we should just make our own. Bookmarking this for a weekend feast asap!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Oyster-gasm! Those Pacific oysters are huge, compared to the ones we see here in Malaysia.

Thanks for your MMM entry, and congrats on hitting such a big milestone!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

I love oyster omelette. The oysters are so tiny in Malaysia and here they are HUGE!!!

grace said...

fantastic, shaz--definitely cause for celebration. incidentally, my science brain and food brain do battle ALL THE TIME. :)

shaz said...

Anh - the texture of mine wasn't 100% too, I'm going to hunt down that sweet potato flour.

Juliana - ah, I actually don't know where this comes from. But the Chinese who settled in Malaysia came from many different regions, which is why the food scene is so diverse.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) - good luck! Make sure you use sweet potato flour though.

Nate @ House of Annie - thank you. These oysters were enormous!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - ha ha, I think the egg to oyster ratio is very lopsided but who cares :)

Grace - oh, good to know I'm not the only one who has those battles ;)

JT @areyouhungary said...

Sweet potato flour is key! This is one of my favourite things in the whole world, you can also use the jars of oysters they sell at the fish markets for more (often smaller) oyster-y goodness!!

Mr KH said...

They're filters, people, filters! Am I talking to myself here?
Oh, never mind...

shaz said...

Yes, JT, I will definitely go get the proper flour for next time. Oh now I rememeber seeing those jar oysters, but I knd of like getting the half shell ones, if anything, just to freak Mr. KH out, he he he...

Mr. la la la la la

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Congratulations Shaz! And way to celebrate! I really want to give this recipe a go now as I love oysters and I love omelettes! :)

Cheah said...

This oyster omelette is very original. If we use this to make the 'Or Chien' it'll cost us a bomb! One US oyster is about 9 rgt!