So usually for Chinese New Year I like to cook a 10 (number for perfection) course meal and invite a few friends over. However, I'm injured this year so cooking was a bit out of the question. However, tradition is tradition and I felt a feast was still needed so with the help of Mr Z we were able to prepare a mini-feast for ourselves of 7 (lucky) dishes.
Fish is always a must and the fish must be whole. The word for "fish" in Chinese sounds like the word for "abundance" so having fish means having abundance for the year ahead. Unfortunately Mr Z loathes preparing seafood due to the subsequent fish market smell he feels lingers all over him. So we made this fast and just pan fried the fish with some ginger after it was rubbed with salt and rice wine. Dish two was a beef stir-fry with julienned gold peppers (yellow bell peppers but gold makes it sound a bit more auspicious).
Dish three was a steamed rice powdered pork ribs on a bed of sweet potatoes. I have a rice cooker that can duplicate as a steamer so once the items are placed in the steamer it was rice cooker on and not think about it till dinner time. This is one of my favourite
Dish four was eight (fortune) tea eggs. These are eggs hard boiled then the shell is cracked but not removed and then cooked in a black tea based soup. We cooked this for only one day so at this time the flavour hasn't sinked in to the egg. A good 3 days of cooking and cooling was best to get the flavour in. Similar to the thousand year egg I think this can be visually disconcerting but it tastes delicious with a bit of saltiness and the aroma of tea. Worth a try for those who are adventurous enough.
Dish five is chicken marinated in a garlic soy sauce over a bed of bok choy. Not exactly a banquet material dish but still delicious and adds the poultry to the table.
Dish six was mapo tofu. This was a slightly less spicy version as we couldn't find the small fiery red chillis usually used for this dish. Nevertheless it is still a great accompaniment with rice with the blend of black beans, spicy peppers and soy all soaked up by the tender tofu. Again not a traditional CNY dish so no particular auspiciousness attached but nevertheless more than satisfying.
The final and seventh dish is one of my favourite - Lion's head. It is water chestnut and pork meat balls cooked with chinese cabbage and shiitake mushroom. We used both the fresh and dried shiitake as one has a better texture (fresh) while the other has a much stronger aroma (dried) needed for the light soy soup stock. This is my mother's recipe and I grew up eating this so it holds a giant amount of sentimental value as well.
And hence concludes our miniature feast. Hopefully everyone hops into a great new Rabbit year! If you want recipes please msg me.
|Seven lucky golden clementines!|
Labels: Beef, Bok choy, Chicken, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Egg, Fish, Lion's head, Pork, Rabbit Year, Seafood, Tea eggs