Lent may be over but the season of summer, which also happens to be the season of bounty for seafood in the country, is still only halfway through. Thank God that despite all the destruction caused by illegal fishing methods, oil spills, tailings from mining activities (No to mining!) and destruction of corals by unscrupulous businessmen, the Philippine seas still abound with fish, shrimps, crab, squid, lobsters, clams, mussels and other edible marine species. And during summertime, they are extra bountiful—so bountiful that you’d find yourself cooking shrimps today, preparing a tilapia dish tomorrow, and drawing up a list of ingredients to buy for your crab recipe this weekend.
But why choose what seafood to cook when you can have them all in one sumptuous dish? My elder sister Susan Dy whipped up this mean Mixed Seafood with Oyster Sauce dish recently, and it’s similar to what I had been cooking at home in Cainta, Rizal. It borders on Chinese, since it uses oyster sauce and sesame oil, and the overall taste is definitely Asian.
Mixed Seafood with Oyster Sauce
1 plastic tray tofu, cut into cubes
2 pcs. big squid, cut into ring segments
2 pcs. big tilapia, filleted and cut into bite sizes
oil for frying
100 grams peeled shrimps, deveined
salt and pepper
2 slices ginger, julienned
2 Tbsps. cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pc. small onion, sliced
1/2 pc. carrot, peeled and diced
3-4 pcs. fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms*
1 pc. small green or red bell pepper, cubed
2 Tbsps. oyster sauce, or to taste
3/4 to 1 cup water
liquid seasoning to taste
sugar to taste
drizzle of sesame oil
1. Season cubed tofu with salt, and fry in hot oil until golden. Remove and drain off excess oil on paper towel.
2. Season squid and tilapia with salt and pepper separately.
3. Lightly cook squid in a little oil until half-done. Remove and set aside.
4. Fry tilapia until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
5. Marinate shrimps in salt, pepper, julienned ginger and rice wine for at least 30 minutes.
6. Heat 2 Tbsps. oil in pan. Sauté garlic then add onion. Add diced carrots.
7. Add halved shiitake mushrooms (*if using dried mushrooms, soak in water until completely rehydrated).
8. Add tofu, tilapia fillets and squid. Add bell pepper.
9. Add shrimps.
10. Season with oyster sauce to taste, pour in water, and season with liquid seasoning and sugar to balance the taste.
11. Let boil. Bring heat down to low and simmer.
12. Drizzle with sesame oil when almost done. Remove from heat and serve.