Sea cucumbers are a type of echinoderm, classified in the same group as starfish and sea urchins. They may have a slight smell of the sea, but they will eventually take on the flavor of the sauces in which they are cooked. Sea cucumbers are believed to be useful for people suffering from diseases such as arthritis, cancer, frequent urination and impotence. If you're looking to cook sea cucumbers, here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started. First, let the sea cucumber dry while using a small knife to gently scrape it with cold running water from the tap.
Then turn off the heat, cover and let cool. Cut it and remove the organs inside. If the sea cucumber still feels hard, repeat the boiling process two or three times, until it softens completely. Next, increase the heat to high and add the shiitake mushrooms, sea cucumbers and the remaining mushroom water to the pot. Simmering it gives the oyster sauce a chance to infuse into the ingredients and become a tasty, sticky glaze.
When you bite it, you'll see that it's quite elastic, but it can also melt in your mouth depending on how long it's been cooked. Finally, sea cucumber extract can also be found in numerous creams, tinctures, oils and cosmetics, as well as in oral sea cucumber supplements, which are considered very popular in traditional Chinese medicine. Maybe it's because my grandmother makes it (whose kitchen I'll love for the rest of my life), or because a pot of braised sea cucumber with mushrooms means spending time with family around the table.