Something exotic in the menu today hehheh... but it's really nothing exotic on this part of the world. Bird's nest is actually swallow's nest made from their own saliva. Sounded yucky eh? Actually the process is quite tedious from the moment the nests are harvested before it reaches our table. You can reach about it here.
I got this box of bird's nest from Kuching via a friend. Kuching is famous for the majority of the nests came from the famous Niah Caves. However, nowadays the traders set up bird's house to cultivate bird's nest. This is how the boxed up nests looked like. Err bad photos cos I've used XDAII to capture these whilst my poor digicam went in for a checkup at it's clinic.
After it's opened.
Close up on bird's nest. The colour you may noticed is very different from those usual ones which are snowy white. I was told this is the pure form of the nests where else those white ones are usually bleached.
To cook bird's nest, one can either make it savoury or sweet. For us, we usually make sweet ones. First I soaked the nests with some water for a couple of hours. Next clean them up. Since I've bought a better grade nests, not much effort is needed to clean up the nest. The bulk of the feathers have been removed.
Usually bird's nest is cooked using double boiled method but this round I've used a slow cooker instead. I've used 3 slices of bird's nest, 4-5 pieces of dried red dates, a few pieces of sliced phau sum (Cantonese for ginseng I think), 2.5 bowl of water and some rock sugar to taste. I left it simmer on the slow cooker for about 6 hours. Here's how it looked like...