Kitchen Ingredient: Shells (螺)
Posted April 30, 2011on:
Shells is one of my favorite seafoods, especially Babylon shells.
What is Babylon shells?
“Babylon Shells have a thick glossy outside shell, often plump looking with brown spots or swirls covering the whorl (outside body). They primary inhabit the tropical Pacific in the Indo Pacific region stretching from Eastern Indian Ocean east to the Northern shores of Australia and New Zealand. They prefer shallow sandy or muddy sea water.” (source)
I normally find the Babylon shells in wet market or local restaurant. Depending on the size and species, they priced from THB 140 to 180 per kg in the wet market. Although I quite like it but I only eat once in a while because it took time to clean and most importantly, they are not always well-cleaned.
For seafood grown in sand or soil, the risk of getting contaminated during growth is always there. It can be contaminated through processing or distribution, thus ensure thorough cooking to avoid regretful food poisoning. Nevertheless, the seafood is cooked and left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature can also multiply harmful bacteria quickly without our notice.
As Babylon shell has enclosed shell, there is an additional preparation before cooking.
Preparation (in order to get rid of sand and dirt inside the shells) :
- Leaving the live shells in clean water for at least two days and change the water everyday.
- Rinse the shells with clean water at least few times, then boiling them with ginger slices, salt and cooking wine for minutes.
- Pick the shell meat out from the shell, then rubbing the meat with baking soda to clean the attached dirt. (optional)
How do you like the fresh, crispy and tender shells meat? Stir or steam? I don’t have special recipe here since you can find a lot of the recipe online, it is all depend on your preference, but seem like it always started from ginger sauté. (“v) I personally love adding rice wine during cooking to remove the fishy smell.
A common dish in Indonesia seafood restaurant
This is one of the kind, had it in a Singapore food court and Borneo island. Absolutely tasty!!
Shell-off! My very first try.