During Chinese New Year, we serve deep-fried oysters as a traditional delicacy.
EASTERN SEAFOOD FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR
Shucked oysters are always in abundance in Chinese grocery shops in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year, as families stock up on all of the traditional and favorite delicacies served during this frantic and joyful time for families around the globe.
Oysters that have been deep-fried to a golden brown are indeed deserving of the new year’s celebration. Fried oysters are a delectable treat that is both crispy on the outside and bursting with flavor on the inside.
- 1 lb. of shucked oysters
- ¾ cup of all-purpose flour for the batter (plus ⅓ cup)
- ½ tsp. of baking powder
- ⅛ tsp. of ground white pepper
- ⅛ tsp. of garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp. of onion powder
- ½ tsp. of salt
- 3-4 cups of canola oil
- ⅔ cup of ice-cold seltzer water
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- Iceberg lettuce (shredded)
- 1 scallion (chopped for garnish)
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
- 1 tbsp. of ketchup
- 1 tsp. of soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. of rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp. of salt
- 2 tbsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. of cornstarch (mixed with ⅓ cup of water)
- The oysters should be drained from the container and rinsed with cold water. Oysters are delicate and should be handled with care. Allow the oysters to drain for at least 10 minutes in a colander.
- Using 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, combine the ingredients until they form a smooth, thick batter.
- In a small yet deep saucepan (to conserve oil), bring the oil to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit (to prevent splattering). To ensure accuracy, use a candy or oil thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil.
- Add the cold seltzer before you’re ready to fry the oysters for a crispier result. Your batter should be smooth at this point (a few small lumps here and there is fine). Add the sesame oil and combine well.
- Each oyster should be lightly patted dry using a paper towel and then lightly dredged in flour after draining. To ensure that each oyster is thoroughly and uniformly coated with batter before frying, dredge them separately immediately before battering and frying them.
- Each oyster should be thoroughly coated in the batter after being dredged. Carefully remove them from the batter using the bowl’s rim to scrape any excess.
- The oysters are now ready to be deep-fried. Use your thermometer to recheck the oil’s temperature. The oil will cool fast when you drop in the battered oysters and immediately heat up again while they cook, so adjust the heat to keep it between 325°F and 350°F during frying.
- Drop the oyster into the oil after swirling the batter in it for 2 or 3 seconds to cook it slightly. This method uses a chemical reaction to keep the oyster from clinging to the bottom of the pot. Oysters can be fried in batches, depending on the size of your pot and the amount of oil you have available. Depending on their size, we cooked the oysters in batches of three or four for this dish.
- Draining the oysters is as simple as lifting them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and placing them on a cooling rack made of metal. Continue frying the oysters until all of them have been done.
- The dipping sauce is now ready to be prepared. Put all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and water can be added to alter the flavor, as can more vinegar and water if you prefer it thicker.
- Even though it’s preferable if you serve these right away, if you’re anything like us during Chinese New Year, you’ll have many other dishes on the stove, and they won’t all get eaten immediately. It’s best to fry the oysters immediately before serving in hot oil at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds or until they’re crispy again. At 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, you may also toast them in a toaster oven.
- Add some scallions and a bed of iceberg lettuce to the plate before serving the deep-fried oysters with a side of hot sauce.