food 4 tots

Braised dried oysters with minced meat

dried oysters, minced meat, braising, Chinese, kid, toddler, food for tots


During Chinese New Year, the most popular dish in Cantonese’s cooking is braised dried oyster/ ho si (蚝豉) with black moss/ fat choy (发菜). Both of these ingredients sound auspicious in Cantonese’s pronunciation. Ho si means good business(好市)whereas fat choy means prosperous (发财). Besides braising, dried oysters can also be used in porridge and soup.


Today, I will share with you my mother-in-law’s signature dish – braised dried oysters with minced meat (蚝豉松). This is my hubby’s most favourite dish among my mother-in-law’s cooking. It goes well with both rice and noodles. You can even eat it wrapped in lettuce.


Like my mother, there is no specific measurement in my mother-in-law’s cooking. This recipe is compiled based on her verbal description, cooking demo and what I had tasted before. For my first attempt, my “invigilator” (hubby) only gave me 7 out 10 and made the following comments:
– Both dried oysters and water chestnuts were chopped a bit too fine and the amount was insufficient
– Meat was too lean, giving rise to a coarse texture
– Not enough oyster sauce
– The dish was a bit watery (it was because I used steamer to re-heat the dish before serving it for dinner).


One week later, I cooked this dish again, giving attention to those mistakes. This time I scored a perfect 10! U Lala! Too good to be true! I was so thrilled with his generous review. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I can achieve my mother-in-law’s standard in just two attempts. But at least I learnt the right way to cook this dish and can reduce his nostalgia for his mother’s cooking. Hope this dish will bring bountiful of good luck, good business and good news to your doorsteps in the year of Ox.


170g minced meat (with lean fat)
6 large dried oysters* (soaked in hot water, coarsely chopped as you want to be able to chew and taste the juiciness of its body)
6 water chestnuts – 马蹄 (again coarsely chopped to give the dish a bit of crunchiness)
4 shallots (chopped finely)
*Use Japanese dried oysters instead of Korean dried oysters. They are bigger, chunkier and tastier.

dried oysters, kid, toddler, food for tots

1½ – 2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
7-8 tbsp water
Dash of light soy sauce & corn flour (for marinating)
2 tsp corn flour (mixed with 2 tbsp water) for thickening
Dash of white pepper
Spring onions and coriander leaves for garnishing

1) Marinate minced meat with light soy sauce and corn flour for 15 mins.
2) Heat up wok with 1 tbsp oil. Sauté shallots until fragrant.
3) Add in dried oysters and sauté until fragrant.
4) Add in minced meat. Spread it out. Do not stir fry immediately. Let it cook for a while until it is slightly caramelized. Flip it over and let it cook for a while until caramelized. This will increase the aroma of the minced meat. Reduce the heat to low and start breaking up the meat. (tip from here)
5) Add in chopped chestnuts. Stir-fry for 1 minute until it mixes well with the rest of the ingredients.
6) Add in oyster sauce, dark soy sauce & water. Stir well. Cover with lid and simmer for about 5 mins (make sure it is not too dry, add water if necessary).
7) Add in pepper and corn flour solution to thicken. Mix well.
8) Turn off the heat and add in spring onions and coriander leaves. Dish up and serve.


Other recommended dishes by my mother-in-law:
how to make “smooth & springy” fish paste
fen ge herbal soup

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  1. mycookinghut says:

    I love dried oysters. I remember the landlady that I stayed with when I was in KL loves to use this to make Chinese parsnip and carrot soup.. absolutely delicious!
    This is a great dish! I could image how nice it is because the combo is good… crunch of chestnuts…yum..
    I am so hungry now ar!

  2. Pearl says:

    at first, i thought the oysters were dates! hehe

  3. skinnymum says:

    Looks yummy and seems doable for me. Will try it out.

    Happy New Year, and may the Year of the Ox brings you (and your family) the best in terms of health, happiness and wealth. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    Warmest regards,

  4. Bits of Life 'n' Taste says:

    Wow! I guess you can take over your MIL’s position in cooking very soon and let the heritage continue! Good job Chef!

  5. Selba says:

    I’ve never seen dried oysters before, only the fresh ones in supermarket or fish market 🙂

    Looks good though!

    Last night, I made my dinner using minced meat with garlic, kikoman sauce, and brown rice. Yeah… very simple dish, hehehe

  6. New Kid on the Blog says:

    hardly see people using minced meat for this dish. most people will use pork knuckle. 🙂

  7. ck lam says:

    I like the strong smell of the dried oysters, enhances the dish…the gravy is enough to wipe up two bowls of rice…thumbs up!

  8. noobcook says:

    Great dish, and so auspicious sounding for cny too! Here’s wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous new year!

  9. gaga says:

    I’ve always been afraid of those dried oysters. It’s great to see that they can be turned into something that looks sooo delicious!

  10. homeladychef says:

    What a good idea to cook oysters with minced meat. Never thought of that. With some water chestnut to boost the flavour, well done to you & your mother-in-law! Happy Chinese New Year too!

  11. Dora says:

    Err..i don’t really like dried oysters. ;p
    The dish would go well with porridge. 🙂

  12. Food For Tots says:

    My cooking hut:I must try out ur landlady’s soup one day. Tks for sharing. 😉

    Pearl: Yeah, it does look like dates from the first glance. Hahaha!

    Skinnymum: Let me how the outcome. Gong Xi Fa Chai to u n ur family!

    Alice (BOLNT): Tks for your XXL hat again! Still a long way to learn her 60 years of cooking experience!!!!

    Selba: Can I have 1 bowl pls? Hehehe!

    NKOTB: This dish is my MIL’s own creation. Dried oyster w/ pork knuckle – new to me too!

    CK: Tks for your compliments.

    Noobcook: Tks for your CNY wishes. Same to you and your family too!

    Gaga: Give it a try. Hope u will like it.

    Homeladychef: Tks for your compliments. Gong Xi Fa Chai to u and ur family!

    Dora: Oh, yes! I had forgotten to mention about porridge. 😉

  13. Piggy says:

    I’m sure that this dish tastes great because I’m a huge fan of dried oysters. yum yum!

  14. Pam says:

    My oyster loving family would really enjoy this meal. Happy Chinese New Year!

  15. beachlover says:

    just looking at your minced meat ,I wanna a bowl of white rice now!lol!

  16. cariso says:

    Too bad that I don’t like the dry oyster. I gonna wait for the next recipe. 🙂

  17. Little Inbox says:

    I love the smell of dried oyster in this dish. 🙂

  18. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Do blog about Penang food, we need to promote Penang. 🙂

    I loved dried oysters, in fact, just had a dinner with braised chicken wings and dried oysters plus white turnip/daikon. My favorite.

  19. tigerfish says:

    I love braised minced meat…juicy and moist. But I have not added dried oysters in there before. Maybe that is the secret ingredient? :p

    Happy Chinese New Year!

  20. CRIZ LAI says:

    I did cook something like this too but with XO.. hehe. 😛

    Happy “Niu” Year to you and all in the family. May this year be a healthy, wealthy and prosperous year for everyone. 🙂

  21. Food For Tots says:

    Hi Everyone: Tks for your kind words.

    Cariso: Hope my next dish will be one of your favourite. Hehehe!

    Rasa Malaysia: Tks for dropping by. Yes, agreed with u to promote more Penang food in future.

    Criz lai: Tks for your wonderful idea. I will try out XO next round.

  22. Phay says:

    Hi juz try it yesterday. nice. but i din add in the water chestnut as i have forgotten to get it. but its already vry vry nice. never know that dried oyster can be cook like tat.

  23. Food For Tots says:

    Phay: Tks for dropping by and glad that u like my MIL’s dish. Try to get some water chestnuts next time, it will definitely be very very very nice! Hehehe!

  24. sharonyap says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I tried it during cny and my husband like it…tell you what, this is the 1st time my hubby said my cooking is nice… 😉

  25. Food For Tots says:

    Sharon Yap: Bravo!Bravo!Bravo! I really share your happiness. I always feel great when my hubby compliments my cooking. Guess u feel the same too, right? Finally, they discover our hidden talents. “Jia Yu”! Hehehe!

  26. Food For Tots says:

    [eatingclub] vancouver || js: Tks for dropping by and your compliments. Hope you will love it! 😉

  27. Candice says:

    Hi, may I know if onions or shallots is to be used? There is shallot in ingredients list but under method, it is stated to sauté the onions. Thank you.

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