Sunday, 29 August 2010

Food From Our Hearts: Double-Boiled Bird's Nest Soup

To think of it, I really had a hard time thinking up a dish to cook for this year's Merdeka Open House theme Food From Our Hearts. Up till the last weekend, I still have none up my sleeves. Was kinda worried hahaha and I was all readied with all sorts of excuses to be the champion of all hostess by declaring that I have no submission!!! I know if I ever do that a lot of you will come after me with a big huge chopper, so back to square one. Then came this event that sparked off an accidental dish for me to serve up.

Last Saturday, Capt'n Hook asked me to cook up the remainder bird's nest which he had bought for me to cure my cough sometime back. Well, I always being laughed at by my brothers that I have expensive cure for my cough but hey one out of two times, I have to say my cough is usually better after a couple bowls of bird's nest soup! Cis, they never heard that there is no one cure for coughs, we just have to try every darn thing that people recommend!!! :p

Well, this time is for BoiBoi who is having a bout of cough and suspected allergic rhinitis. Even though the grade Capt'n Hook had bought is not too shabby but after soaking them in water, I can still see teeny weeny feathers floating on the water and also many many stuck onto the nests! Grrrrrr that's when I sat down with the bowl of bird's nest, a bowl filled with some water, an empty bowl, a small bowl with water plus a pair of tweezers.

Sample birds nest
The box of bird's nest, sorry I did not take a picture of the dried nest as I've never intended to blog about this in the first place :p

The modus operandi is place a small amount of nests in the bowl with water (water have to be changed to remove the floating feathers when necessary) . Use the tweezers to remove the feather. I have to dip the tweezers into the small bowl of water to get rid of the feather before moving on. Once this is done, drain the nest and place into the empty bowl. Well this went on till all is done. I repeated the process at least twice to ensure as much of the feathers are removed.

Feathers picked from the nests
Can you see the amount of dark feathers I picked out?

It was certainly a back breaking job sitting there for about 45 minutes sieving through the bird's nest. As I was doing this, I thought back on how my mother painstakingly doing the same for us. Well, it's not that we have this all the time but on the rare occasions when she manage to get nice and reasonably priced bird's nest. The thing is whenever she make for us that being myself, my two brothers and daddy; never once she partake any. Each time I asked her to have some, she always said "I don't like them. They have fishy smell."

Cleaned and soaked birds nest
Cleaned and soaked bird's nest

While I tucked into the double-boiled soup sweetened with rock sugar, I would always try to taste out trying to find the fishy smell she had mentioned but never once I could taste it. In my mind I would have lines running in my head perhaps she, as would all mothers, save up and give her family the best... or perhaps she really dislikes bird's nest soup??? I will never know cause she never tell me why up till now.

All ready in the pot
Into the pot the ingredients went

Now that I'm a mother myself, I guess it would really be the former. However, I did found out about the fishy smell... yeah she was right, there is indeed fishy smell but only detected during the feathers removal process. Ahhh so perhaps that smell could have offended her?

Whatever it is, here's a tribute to my mother on her birthday today for showing us her loving and kind compassion to all of us. We wish her good health and may her be blessed with happiness today and always. Many happy returns of the day, Mother!

Finish product with lots of labour  - birds nest soup
The bowl of bird's nest soup awaiting for BoiBoi to lap up

Double-Boiled Bird's Nest Soup
Serves 3

2 pieces of dried bird's nest
3 bowls of water
4 - 6 red dates (optional)
rock sugar to taste (I've used the brown one, hence the soup turned out looking brown)

Placed all items in slow cooker (alternatively use a double boiler) and cooked for 3 hours in low heat. Serve hot and best to drink before bed time.

This is the first time BoiBoi drink up double-boiled bird's nest soup. He don't really like it and protested until his daddy stepped in :p I had to feed him but when I made the second batch on Sunday, he asked me for the soup before he went to bed!!! *roll eyes* He's getting very unpredictable these days with his ever changing palate. Thank goodness his cough is much better now ;-)

There you go... my accidental contribution to this year's virtual open house. Wishing all Malaysians a blessed Hari Kebangsaan. May we live harmoniously, be tolerant with each other and be peaceful always. Merdeka!!!


  1. Nothing quite like a mother's love. My mom used to tell me the same thing too. Moms - they rock! :)

  2. my mother always leaves the best for me and my bro, and she also claims that she doesn't like the taste. :-P

    I've been thinking of participating in your merdeka open house event but I couldn't think of any story to go with the dish. And just minutes ago, I finally thought of one! Well, too late to take part now, what a bummer! I will try again next year. haha!

  3. such a sweet tribute to yr mother and yes, I can imagine how painful it is to remove those feathers.

  4. I bet that half the curing power of bird's nest comes from all the love put into it! :)

    Hope that Boi Boi gets back to 100% perfect health again soon!

    ...and Happy, happy Merdeka to you. :) :)

  5. Kenny, so all mothers are alike eh? :p

    Piggy, pen into your calendar to participate next year ok!

    thanks Boo ;-)

    Thanks J

  6. Bird's nest soup certainly shows a mother's love, for all the patience required in removing the feathers. What a great entry! Thanks for sharing.

  7. bird ness is very good for the skin hor? but i heard you cant have too much of it. just a small amount is good.

    Have a fabulous week!!
    jen @


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