It's feasting time again. Time to plan the menu and get busy in the kitchen to prepare a feast for my family. I have decided not to go with the usual steamboat as my dining table is not big enough to hold 2 steamboat pots and all the plates for the ingredients to serve 11 people. The preparation work started the night before and I managed to get everything prepared and cooked by 6.30pm the next day, just in time for the sumptuous meal to start. I said to myself, "Good job ....." Haha ...........
Here's the menu for that day:
In place of steamboat, we had a pot of soup - all the treasures in my version of Budhha Jump Over The Wall, prepared and double-boiled for the whole day. I'm happy with the result of this soup. I started off with boiling the base chicken broth, made up of chicken bones, lean pork, dried scallops and old Chinese ham. To speed up boiling the chicken broth, I used the pressure cooker. Efficient and tasty. This is the first time I have used old Chinese ham. The broth was superb. Next, I added in all the treasures like baby abalone, chicken drumsticks, dried scallops, dried Chinese Shitake mushrooms, sea cucumbers, fish maws and carrots into a slow cooker to be cooked over the next 6 hours. The sea cucumbers and fish maws were only added towards the last hour of the cooking. The soup tasted so good with all the treasures and long hours of simmering.
Next on the list was the Braised Treasure plate. This was one dish I have prepared before and specially requested by my daughter. It consisted of pork belly, dried Chinese Shitake mushroom and Chinese chestnuts braised for about 2 hours. I added in the Fatt Choy, sliced abalone and boiled broccoli to complete the dish. I have actually wanted to add in the fresh Hokkaido scallops, but I missed that out. Memory lapses due to aging?
The third dish - Golden prawns in pumpkin sauce and walnut. Big shelled 'Angkar' prawns coated with potata flour, deep fried to golden color, coated with pumpkin puree lightly stir fried with garlic and curry leaves and drizzled with toasted walnuts. I have tried coating prawns with corn flour. My verdict - potato flour gives fried food a nice crisp.
Fourth dish - Ngoh Hiang (pork and prawn rolls). My mum will always make this every Chinese New Year. Why only during CNY? Because it involves a lot of work. During my mum's time, she has to chop the pork manually by herself. There's no machine at the butcher to mince the pork. Even though there was one in later part of the years, my mum would still prefer to chop the pork herself. Taste better? I don't know. Besides the pork, you will still have to chop the prawns, water chestnuts and dried Chinese mushrooms. Next you will have to roll them up in beancurd skin, steam them and fry them. I have since started to take over the cooking of this dish. I will make at least 20 rolls each time and freeze them after steaming. When you to want eat it, take it out from the freezer, defrost, cut into 4-5 pieces per roll and fry them. It's worth all the hard work. It's so flavourful and juicy. We all like this special dish passed down from my mum.
Fifth dish - the auspicious, must-have Stir Fried Leek in XO sauce. Leek in Chinese is 蒜. 蒜 sounds like 算 in Chinese. 算 when translated to English means something like counting. To the Chinese, eating leek during CNY is auspicious as this means you will have plenty of money to count. This dish is a must have for my mum. The ingredients I used are very simple - garlic, leek, bean curd (斗干), XO sauce.
The last must-have dish is Steam Chinese Pomfret Teochew style. Chinese pomfret during CNY period is so expensive. The one I bought this year cost $40 for a 800g size. But it's worth it. Most Teochews love steam fish in Teochew style - salted vegetables, sour plum, tomatoes and dried mushroom.