Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bird nest

Sometimes I wonder if eating bird nest everyday will make a difference to my skin, or health. I don't think it is scientifically proven that it does. But proven or not, eating bird nest in the Chinese community is something luxurious in the past. And still is.

Birdnest aka "Yin Woh" is actually the harden sparrow sliver. "Yin" is the sparrow, "Woh" the sliver. The sparrow will actually use its saliva to to form a nest before laying its eggs. There are many types of sparrow; some makes their nest with their sliver and grass. The one what we eat and "hunt" for are the once made with sliver.

The dried bird nest you see in the shops are actually processed. The real "fresh" bird nests are actually very dirty with dirt, dust, feathers and fesis. And smells really bad too! These bird nests can be "harvest" and picked from caves where the sparrows lives. But these days, there are many locations where buildings are built or converted for sparrows (to live in), making a profitable business for one who wants to "produce" bird nest.

If you come across any of these "producers", try buying their "fresh" bird nest. It's 100% pure, but I'm not really sure you will dare eat it after seeing the "freshness" of the bird nest you will be eating. :P

For reselling, the bird nest are actually weighed and rearranged in a mold. Beaching maybe done to make the bird nest look cleaner (bleaching agent maybe bad for health) and starch is added to make the bird nest stick together. The prices of bird nests depends on their weight, type of bird nest "the strength of the sliver", and the species of the sparrow. If you notice, there are some sparrow nests that are orange in color. This is because of the different species of sparrow that feed on different food (seafood I think). This species of sparrows are called "Huit Yin" (blood sparrows). And of course, the more starch added, the cheaper the bird nest.


Here's how you clean, and make a nice bowl of bird nest.

Cleaning a "fresh" bird nest;
1. Mix 1/4 bowl hot water with 3/4 cool water.
2. Soak the bird nest in the bowl of water for 2 hours, or until soften.
3. Rinse out the dirt and feathers.
4. Repeat step 1 and 2 for a few more rounds until all external dirt is removed.
5. Use a toothpick or a tweezers to handpick the dirt stuck inside the bird nest. You will have keep changing the water and keep washing the bird nest while doing this.
6. Soak and separate the cleaned sections in another bowl or water.
&. Drain water when completed. Ready to be cooked.

Cooking bird nest;
Ingredients
- soften bird nest (soak in cool water for a few hours)
- sliced ginseng roots (or any type of Chinese herbal root)
- red dates or kei chee
- white rock sugar

Method:
1. Boil a pot of water and boil dates, kei chee and ginseng roots.
2. Transfer the water into a slow cocker and add white rock sugar.
3. Cook for 2 to 3 hours depending on amount. Add in bird nest 25 minutes before the hour ends.
4. Serve hot, or cold.

Best eaten hot with an empty stomach in the mornings as breakfast with a cup of ginseng. No guaranties that you will live long or have beautiful skin though :P

Tip: You will most probable spend hours cleaning the bird nest, but be patience. Don't overcook your bird nest as it will soften and melt. Add more ginseng if you can't stand the fishy smell of the bird nest. The fishy smell is stronger on higher grades bird nest especially the orange ones..



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4 pieces of worms:

Tummythoz

How informative! I've never had the orange coloured ones yet. Been throwing everything (bird nest + herbs)in a lidded jar, double boils for 4 hours and having it after dinner. Maybe that's why skin still not 'pak-suit-suit, wat-luit-luit'-lar.

teckiee

tummythoz: if really want 'pak-suit-suit, wat-luit-luit'have to take birdnest every morning man... $$$$$

Hijackqueen

I use birdnest to gargle my mouth in the morning leh.... :p

teckiee

hijackqueen: hahahaha i only wish i could do that

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