A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Gomantong Cave and mentioned that people harvested edible birds’ nests. Many of you asked me how they prepared them and at the time I didn’t know. This weekend I received a gift from my friends that we visited in Malaysia. They sent a book titled, Malaysia at Random: Facts, Figures, Quotes, and Anecdotes on Malaysia. I love these kinds of books since I love quirky facts. You’d think I would be better at trivia, but unfortunately my memory isn’t the great.
Anyhoos, while browsing through the book I saw a section on how to process a premium-grade black birds’ nest.
- Soak the nest in water for 12 to 48 hours.
- Using a pair of tweezers, separate the feathers from the nest.
- To remove fine and deeply embedded feathers, swirl the nest in a circular container containing a few drops of vegetable oil.
- Rearrange the meaty portions of the nest into a diamond-shaped mould.
- Allow the moist birds’ nest chips to dry.
It’s my understanding that the most popular way to eat them is in a soup. Unfortunately the book doesn’t supply a soup recipe but it did have a story about two burglars who broke into a building that they thought was used for breeding swiftlets, the ones who make the edible nests. Instead they broke into the wrong building and they were arrested for breaking and entering a bank. Oops!