Being Chinese New Year last week (26 January), we wanted to make some traditional dishes with food that is thought to bring luck, or wealth, or happiness for the next year. This is the year of the Ox, time for hard work. Black moss, also called fat choy or faat choy, sounds similar to the popular Chinese New Year saying in Cantonese, Gung Hei Faat Choi (congratulations and be prosperous), so is thought to bring wealth and is a popular ingredient in dishes served during the Chinese New Year. The proper black moss looks like black hair (though is dark green) and is a little disconcerting but tasty, and cooked properly has a consistency similar to thin cellophane noodles. I have found it to be an interesting taste, and this dish is tasty, but I have also read that black moss might contain a certain toxin which could impact your health (it brings you wealth but not health, I guess). Eat only at Chinese New Year, I would say.Stir-fried King Oyster Mushrooms, Snow Peas and Black Moss
1/2 oz (14 g) black moss
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb (340 g) king oyster mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
6 tbsp chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 lb (340 g) snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed
Salt to taste
Soak moss in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse and squeeze dry. Tear into 2-inch lengths and set aside.
In wok or large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add garlic and cook for 10 seconds – don't let it brown. Add mushrooms, cooking wine, soy and stock.
Stir-fry until mushrooms are limp, about 3 minutes. Add snow peas and stir-fry until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and transfer with slotted spoon to serving dish. Add moss to liquid remaining in wok and stir-fry just until hot. Mound moss in centre of mushrooms and serve.