Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Chinese New Year dishes

Reunion dinner is very important to all Chinese families, mine without exception.  We can choose to eat out or at the comfort of our own home. This year, we ate at my home.  We celebrated with both sides of the family. I am married, and my brothers came over. My mother in law, and my sister in law with her family too.  There was more than enough food for all, in Chinese tradition, having excess is good.

I cooked a few dishes and we also had steamboat plus grill.  Steamboat means cooking the prepared food usually frozen food like fishballs, sotong (squid) balls, crab balls, crabsticks, frozen shrimp and pork wontons into prepared chicken or pork stock, and also some marinated foods like shabu shabu pork or beef  and taiwanese sausages for the grill.

This is Nian Gao (New Year Cake) - made from sugar, glutinous flour, water and citric acid. Bought from stores. You can keep it in the fridge till it hardens after about a week. Slice into pcs and dip in batter made from egg, flour, baking powder, water, and oil and fry over medium heat.  Remove when golden brown.
Ingredients :
For every  100g nian gao -
50g flour
1 egg
a pinch baking powder
50 ml water
1 tsp oil
Mix the above into a smooth batter.  Cover the nian gao with batter and fry over medium heat for 1-2 minutes till golden brown. Drain on paper towels. 
Note: if the nian gao melts and leaks, do not drain on paper towels or they will stick to the paper.

This is Braised Log Mushrooms with canned baby abalones. 
I stewed the mushrooms overnight and before serving, added in the abalones to stew for about 10-15 minutes.
Everyone gave good reviews about this dish. 
Recipe (Taken from Christine's Recipes) with additional baby abalone and slow cooker to braise overnight.
8 - 10 dried Chinese mushrooms (I used about 16 for my dish)
1 pc of rock sugar about 10-15 gm
a few drops of oil
lettuce for garnish - i used Sheng Cai - Chinese lettuce
cornflour for rinsing mushrooms
some carrots slices
2 tsp light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman Soy Sauce)
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp cornflour
sesame oil to taste
some water if sauce stew dries up in slowcooker
1. Soak mushtooms about 30 minutes or soft enough to trim the stems. Rinse away any dirt or impurities.  Change clean water and and continue to soak until mushrooms are completely softened.  drain out the mushrooms.  Save the soaking water for later. 
Use a handful of cornflour to mix with the mushrooms and rub with your hand.  Set aside for 15 minutes, then rinse.
2. Use a deep pot, add the mushrooms, carrots, soaking water, rock sugar and a few drops of oil.  Cook over medium heat.  Bring it to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until water lowers.
This point onwards, I poured the mushrooms into the slowcooker and put on auto.  I added in the seasoning ingredients.
After 2 hours, I stirred the mushrooms.  Then overnight, I stirred again. Taste the stew. Can adjust the taste by adding more sugar or soy sauce.
3. Before serving, blanch the Chinese lettuce in hot water with oil for 1-2 minutes.  Do not overcook. Spread out nicely on a serving plate. 
Place the mushtooms in a round circle on the plate.  Put the baby abalones into the slowcooker and cook for about 10 -   15 minutes.  Remove the abalones and place in the centre.
4. Spoon the stewed sauce and pour over the mushrooms and abalones.  Place some fried shallots over the abalones and serve.