Dried scallops, also known as conpoy, are a popular ingredient in Chinese and other East Asian cuisines. They are made by sun-drying or dehydrating fresh scallops until they reach a dry, slightly chewy texture. Dried scallops have a concentrated umami flavour, which adds depth and richness to various dishes. They are often used in soups, stir-fries, rice dishes, and sauces.
Dried scallops are typically categorised based on size, colour, and quality. There isn't a universally standardised size classification system for dried scallops, but they are often graded by size and quality, from small to large and from low to high quality. Here are some general size classifications:
Small: These are the smallest dried scallops, and they are often used in dishes where they are combined with other ingredients, such as fried rice, noodle dishes, or sauces.
Medium: Medium-sized dried scallops are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, congees, and stir-fries.
Large: Large dried scallops are considered high-quality and are often used in dishes where they are the main ingredient or a standout component, such as soups or steamed dishes.
Extra-large: These are the largest and most expensive dried scallops, often reserved for special occasions or luxurious dishes. They are prized for their rich flavour and can be used in soups, stir-fries, or as a main ingredient in a dish.
In addition to size, the quality of dried scallops is determined by factors such as their colour, aroma, and texture. High-quality dried scallops are generally golden or pale yellow, have a strong, pleasant aroma, and a uniform, slightly chewy texture.
Before using dried scallops in a dish, they are usually soaked in water for several hours or overnight to rehydrate and soften them. Once rehydrated, they can be shredded, sliced, or used whole, depending on the recipe.