My very first time cooking for Chinese New Year, inspired by my Chinese pals, influenced by my Indonesian heritage.
I didn't know much about Chinese traditional symbolism & food, until I read a fab food article in Jaden's Steamy Kitchen blog. The only Chinese New Year food tradition I know is "to eat lotsa lotsa food"...so...I asked around for inspiration.
My pal Liv told me that in her family, they always have prawns to celebrate CNY, as the pronunciation of prawns in Cantonese = har...thus HA-HA-HA...thus HAPPINESS. I gotta get me loads of happiness this year...thus...the prawns.
Red and gold are definitely the new black during CNY (if you see red fonts in this article, that doesn't mean I am mad and screaming at you. In other articles? yep, mad at you, better evaluate & apologize). What's red and gold and won't get us food poisoning? OK, decided to go with salted egg yolk and some red chilli for Indonesian touch plus...chilli (jiu) = invite (invite wat? you'll know later).
Indo-China Golden Prawns
aka. Wong Kam Har, aka. Prawns in Salted Egg Yolk - Indo Chinese Style
- Medium to large prawns
- Chopped spring onion, red chilli, ginger, corriander, garlic, shallots
- Salted egg yolk
- Salt, pepper, sugar
Prawns = peel off shell (leave tail), de-vein, marinate in a bit of salt, pepper, sugar, corn starch, then fry in hot oil until they are pink and slightly curled, set aside. Boil salted eggs, crack 'em, separate the yolks and crush 'em. Saute aromatics in olive oil, then add the salted egg yolk until well mixed. Add prawns and mix them up. You won't see anything that looks richer & more glorious.
Lettuce, Chinese Mushroom & Pork in Oyster Sauce
My pals told me to make anything with lettuce, as lettuce (san choi) symbolises health and wealth (the chilli = invite, the lettuce = wealth).
My friend who helped me to buy the lettuce, again amused me by buying WESTERN lettuce. In his defense, they are both lettuce alright. But, I laughed out loud at the thought of WESTERN lettuce as a compulsory vegetable for CHINESE New Year. Har-Har-Har indeed.
- Dried mushrooms
- Sliced pork
- Soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine, corn starch (for the pork) and oyster sauce
- Ginger (crushed), spring onions
Soak dried mushrooms in water until it is soft. Keep the water for later.
Marinate pork with soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, shaoxing wine & a bit of corn starch, stir fry, then set aside.
Pour softened mushrooms into a wok/pot, add ginger, spring onion, oyster sauce and some sugar, cook for a while until the mushrooms absorbed the sauce. Add pork and lettuce, let it cook for a while until the pork and lettuce absorbed the aromas.
Nothing concludes a meal like something sweet..
*Peanut filled Tong Yuen in Sweet Ginger Soup
OK, I didnt make the tong yuen (glutionous rice balls), they came in a package, all you need to do is boil 'em.
Boil some ginger with rock sugar for the soup base...the tong yuen represents family harmony & I am sure the peanut filling means something (I'll get back to you on that....)
pssst. Michelle Minnaar of Greedy Gourmet from South Africa made a CNY-the day after- dish, check it out!
Wanna check out my Chinese New Year Home Make Over?