This salad has only two main ingredients, the cuttlefish which is 'ju her' in hokkien, 'yau yee' in cantonese and the vegetable is water convolvulus which is 'eng chye' in hokkien, 'oong choy' in cantonese and 'kangkong' in malay. This vegetable has many names in different parts of the world, for example it can be called 'morning glory' or 'swamp cabbage' in Australia. There are two species that i am familiar with, one grows on soil and another in water. Before it is hybrid, the water kind is only available and because it was grown in water, the chinese no preference for this vegetable as it does not do good for people who suffer from rheumatism and your knees will buckle from weakness. Whatever it is, it makes the best salad and this dish is one of the most expensive one in the hawker's centre.
1 processed cuttlefish(to process a dried one refer notes below)
300 gm of young water convolvulus
2 tbsps of fragrant oil(sook yau)
1tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsps of toasted sesame seeds.
2 tbsps Hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp hae ko(black prawn paste)
2 tsps chilly sauce
1 tsp belacan powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lime juice
- Cut the lower end of the washed water convolvulus and tie the vegetable into a bunch.
- Heat a pot of water and when water comes to a boil, blanch the cuttlefish for a short while as if overcooked cuttlefish will be rubbery. Remove cuttlefish and soak in iced water.
- Blanch the water convolvulus and remove the whole bunch on to a cutting board.
- Cut the water convolvulus into 2 ins length and place onto serving plate. Drizzle with the 2 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
- Cut the cuttlefish into 2 lengthwise. Slice slantwise to width of 2 ins and cut tentacles into 2 ins length too. Place on top of the water convolvulus.
- Pour the mixed sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
To process dried cuttlefish:
Soak cuttlefish with cold water preferably overnight until it has been reconstituted. Change the water(this water can be used as soup stock) and soak the cuttlefish with cold water which has 1 tbsp of potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution(kan sui) added. The cuttlefish is ready when it is soft and double it's original size. At this stage the cuttlefish has to be soaked in plain cold water and change the water every 3 hours.