yup, that’s right, snails! these freshwater mollusks are the ones typically found in the wet markets. a common cantonese style preparation for snails is stir frying them in a spicy sauce. when cooked, the meat is firm and slightly crunchy… like an abalone or certain parts of a clam.
snails can be a bit dirty, so be sure to scrub and soak them in a large bowl of water first, at least an hour. most of the time, there’ll be a slippery algae layer on the outside of the shell. you can use a towel or sponge to wipe each one of them clean. or just do what we did… boil them first to kill the algae.
snails 3 lbs (1.5 kg)
small onion 1, chopped
garlic 2 cloves, chopped
ginger 5 slices
star anise 2
dried chili flakes 1 tbsp
rock sugar 1 tbsp
shaoxing huadiao wine 3 tbsp
chicken stock 1 cup
- blanch the snails in boiling water for 1-2 min
- strain, and set aside
- in a hot pot, add oil, onions, garlic, and ginger, sauteed until you can smell the aroma
- add star anise, dried chili flakes, rock sugar, and snails
- cover the snails with the wine and chicken stock, bring to boil, and cook for 3 min
- salt to taste
this dish is spicy, so sugar is essential to balance the heat. we are using rock sugar, since its sweetness is lighter.