The most famous use of edible birds nest is bird’s nest soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
When dissolved in water, the birds’ nests have a gelatinous texture which is added to a sweet soup [tòhng seui]. It is mostly referred to as 燕窝 [yin wò] unless references are made to the savoury or sweet soup in Chinese cuisine.
According to the Qing Dynasty manual of gastronomy, the Suiyuan shidan, bird nest was a delicate ingredient that must not be flavoured or cooked with anything strong tasting or oily. It should be served in a sufficient amount for its texture to be fully experienced and enjoyed.
- Immerse 10g of bird’s nest in plenty of water & ensure it is covered by water for a minimum 2 hours until soft & fully expanded.
- Boil 800 -1000ml of water in a separate pot. Drain the soaked bird’s nest & add to the boiling pot.
- Reduce to low-medium heat & cover with a lid to continue stewing. After 60 – 80mins add in Chinese herbs such as American ginseng, goji & red dates & stew for at least 40 mins until the bird’s nest is a transparent & soft jelly. Then add rock sugar according to your taste & turn off the heat once the rock sugar is completely dissolved.
- Serve within 4 hours or refrigerate the bird’s nest soup for later consumption.