Oysters and black fungus with pigeon

Oysters and black fungus with pigeon

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is my response to the traditional New Year celebratory dish of dried oyster and black hair seaweed. I wanted to capture the essence of what the dish means to me, through inspiration and reinvention, rather than presenting it in its original form. I’ve included succulents from the seaside for clean and briny freshness and to contrast with the very rich overtones of the original dish.

For the oyster sauce


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed then sliced
3cm piece of ginger,, peeled and sliced
3 spring onions, smashed, cut into 5 cm lengths, white part only
4 large dried oysters, rinsed, soaked overnight in 100 ml water
2 medium dried shiitakes, soaked in 100 ml water for at least 1 hour
25ml shaoxing wine or sake
500ml light chicken stock
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rock sugar

For the black fungus relish

Quantity Ingredient
1 tabespoon sugar
4 red asian shallots, halved and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoon noilly prat or other dry vermouth
200ml light brown chicken stock
100g black fungus, finely julienned

For the pigeons

Quantity Ingredient
125ml dark soy sauce
125ml light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rock sugar
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2cm piece of ginger, smashed
3 tablespoons shaoxing wine
2 pigeons
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the accompaniments

Quantity Ingredient
8 rock oysters, freshly shucked, (strain the liquid from the shells and keep)
3 tablespoons young peas
2 tablespoons sea banana, (see glossary)
3 teaspoons samphire, (see glossary)
10 fennel fronds


  1. Make the oyster sauce:
  2. Heat a wok over high heat, add the peanut oil and swirl until very hot. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions, one after the other, allowing each to get hot before adding the next. They should be slightly charred. Keeping the soaking liquids, drain the oysters and mushrooms and pat dry. Add them to the wok and stir until they heat through. Add the wine. Once the raw alcohol smell has disappeared, add the stock, soy sauce, rock sugar, and 2 tablespoons each of the reserved oyster and mushroom soaking liquids. Bring back to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. There should be a balance of oyster and mushroom savouriness and the liquid should have reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain, discarding the solids, and check the seasoning. Reduce in a frying pan to slightly thicken. Add salt or soy sauce to taste.
  3. Make the black fungus relish:
  4. Melt the sugar without stirring in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Continue heating until caramelised to a golden brown. Add the shallots and cook until the moisture from them dissolves the caramel, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add the garlic and sauté for 1–2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the butter. When it foams and looks nutty, stir in the vermouth and simmer until the raw alcohol smell has disappeared. Add the stock and simmer until the mixture becomes syrupy. Stir in the fungus, but don’t cook it for too long or it will lose its texture. The end result should be like a paste and salty enough to be considered a relish. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Poach the pigeons:
  6. Put all the ingredients except the pigeons and oil in a large pot with 500 ml water and bring to the boil, then take off the heat and let the liquid cool to 70°C. Tuck the pigeons’ wings behind their backs so they don’t impede the cooking of the breasts. Drop the pigeons into the pot and submerge them, making sure their cavities are filled with the poaching liquid. Leave for 30 minutes for the pigeons to steep. They will be coloured by the liquid but the flesh should be quite rare. Hang to dry for at least 1 hour. Just prior to serving, heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C. Add the pigeons and deep-fry for about 5 minutes until the skin is browned. For serving, carve each breast in half and remove the bones from the leg and thigh pieces.
  7. Prepare the accompaniments:
  8. Season a pot of water with enough salt to match the saltiness of the sea and bring to the boil. Drop in the oysters and poach for just 2–3 seconds. Scoop out and reserve. Blanch the peas, sea banana and samphire in the boiling water and refresh under cold water. Peel the peas and split in half. Dress the peas, sea banana, samphire and fennel in the reserved oyster brine you kept when shucking the oysters, and add a little salt.
  9. Assemble the dish:
  10. Arrange pigeon breast and leg pieces on each plate. Spoon some of the warm black fungus relish alongside and highlight with 2 oysters. Scatter the peas, sea banana, samphire and fennel about. Spoon some sauce onto the plates and serve.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again