Dried scallop (conpoy) is the dried abductor muscle of scallops. It has a really rich flavour, with a pungent seafood taste and is rich in umami.
Dried scallops are considered a delicacy and are expensive to buy, but you only need to use a little for cooking because it has a very strong and complex flavour which enhance the taste of many dishes. Dried scallops are a great addition to soups, stir fries and used in rice congee. Luckily for me, I get my dried scallops from my parents who buy them overseas from Hong Kong whenever they go traveling.
Here is lovely tofu dish which uses dried scallops.
Box of fresh tofu
3-4 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced
3 dried scallops, soaked and separated into strands
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
Heat up a wok, add in some oil and fry the garlic for a few seconds.
Add in the dried scallops and fry till fragrant, then add in shiitake mushrooms and fry till golden brown.
Then add in a little salt, pepper, (1-2 tablespoons) fish sauce and (2-3 tablespoons) oyster sauce.
Note: you need to over-season and be quite heavy handed when adding in the fish sauce and oyster sauce as the tofu is bland and when the dish is steamed the flavours will infiltrate the tofu.
Fry until dry, then add in ~ 2 tablespoons of water (use the water that was used to soak the dried scallops) and fry for a bit.
Arrange tofu on a plate for steaming, scatter fried mixture on top.
Steam on low heat for ~ 10 minutes, at 8 minutes put some spring onion and coriander on top of the tofu and steam for the remaining 2 minutes.
This is one of my favourite tofu dishes!
As the tofu is steamed on a low heat it maintains a very soft and silken texture, and the strong flavours provided by the fried dried scallop/shiitake mushroom complement the blandness of the tofu making it a very delicious tasting dish.