Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Potluck Dilemma

I enjoy what can generally be considered, at least for the majority of the US, non-traditional foods. In particular, fishing cultures are my favorite.

The problem is that I also want to share my appreciation with others, while at the same time others do not want to eat strange foreign grub (literally or otherwise).

Potlucks in particular can be a useful tool. A "potluck" is a gathering of people at which everyone brings some form of food (a 'pot' of their own)- what you end up eating, as a whole, depends greatly on 'luck.' In Oklahoma, nopales (cactus, Mexican cuisine) will go over rather well, whereas bringing cooked insects (Native American, Asian, et. al.) will often be sampled poorly.

I try to balance between what locals will actually be willing to sample, and the interesting and wonderful flavours/textures I hope to introduce.

Here is my solution to The Potluck Dilemma: Instant Jellyfish Stirfry

-Another nice thing about the Potluck is that labels are often not present; the following potluck dish looks sufficiently like vegetables and [perhaps] noodles that people do not hesitate to try it.


At least 2 pkts of Instant Jellyfish (available for less than $1 apiece at most Asian food stores)
Instant Jellyfish is different than preserved jellyfish. The latter requires sequential soaking to remove the salt in which it was preserved. The Instant form also comes with its own seasoning packets.
A variety of vegetables:
I normally use Cabbage, Carrots, & Bean Sprouts (In the following demonstration, I replace bean sprouts with snow peas)

A small measure of canola or safflower oil.

A sprinkling of Sesame seeds.
& a Pan/pot with mid-tall sides.


1. Slice/shred Carrots. Slice Snow Peas. Combine all packets of Intant Jellyfish (but not the included spice packets!).

2. Place pan/pot on heat. Add small measure of oil; also add one of the oil packets that was included in the Instant Jellyfish package. Add Carrots, then Cabbage.

3. After Cabbage & Carrots have begun to wilt a bit, add the Bean Sprouts/Snow Peas.

-You might also add Sesame Seeds.

4. After the vegetables have been well and truely cooked/ stir-fried, add the Jellyfish.
At this time, add half of the flavouring packets that come with the Instant Jellyfish.

5. Only allow the Jellyfish to warm. Overcooking jellyfish can make it 'difficult to eat.' The warming of the jellyfish will release an amount of fluid. Strain the resulting mixture, place in plastic container, take to potluck, and serve.

5b. I also print out a small warning label: "Do not eat this if you are allergic to any form of seafood."

Enjoy. Most people find the dish agreeable, even enjoyable.

You can tell them what it was later.

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