Sunday, 9 February 2014

[With Recipes] 2014 Chinese New Year Lunch Gathering With Relatives

This is the second year we invited our relatives over for Chinese New Year lunch gathering where everyone can mingles around as well as enjoy some homecook dishes and cakes prepared by my mum and myself. As usual we have a big group of relatives and to prepare a semi buffet for 30 people in a home base kitchen with gas stove and a microwave convection oven (my built-in oven was down) was rather a bit challenging for us. But thanks god we managed to get all the food up on time and everyone enjoys the array of food and family bonding time too.

So here is a long-winded post with photos of the food as well as related recipes (or recipe links) for your reference in case you need some inspiration on what to cook before the 15 days of lunar new year ends on Friday, 14 Feb 2014 (ooooo it's also Valentine's Day too)

Ingot Wanton Prepared By My Boy
Although lunch was set at around 1.30pm on Day 2 of Chinese New Year but we were all awake quite early in the morning to prepare the dishes and etc. My boy on the other hand also helped up with some cleaning, preparing the drinks as well as wrapping some wanton (dumplings) in Ingot shapes (元宝).

Step-by-step recipes(s) of how to make wanton (dumpling) can be found here.

Lunch Menu
It's always exciting and fun to be able to come out with our own food menu but on the down side it could be rather headache to decide what to include in the list starting from appetizer to dessert. And while reference to last year's menu, it seems like we have less meaty dishes as compared to last year.


APPETIZER


[Appetizer] Pacific Clam And Top Shell Salad
For this year appetizer, I got the inspiration from January issued of GoodFood Magazine (Asian edition) where they featured Harmony and Reunion new year dishes. Even though the original recipe only required Pacific Clams but since I have top shell in the pantry I decided to add in a can as extra ingredients.

(Serves: sharing portion | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 2 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 3 Ring of Pineapples, diced
  • 1 Japanese Cucumber, diced
  • 1 Can New Moon Pacific Clams, sliced
  • 1 Can New Moon Top Shell, thinly sliced
  • 3 Shallots, sliced

  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoon Thai Chilli Sauce
  • 2 Teaspoon Sugars
  • 50ml Lime Juice
  • Splash of Fish Sauce
  • Splash of Sesame Oil

Method:-
1. Combine all the ingredients for dressing in a small bowl, mix well and set aside.

2. Pour dressing into the prepared ingredients mixture and toss well.

Tips:
~ Blanched top shell and clams in boiling water, remove and rinse in ice water before slicing them.


[Appetizer] Quinoa Salad
Beside the sweet and spicy pacific clams salad, this year I also introduce our favourite super-grains Quinoa (Keen-wah) to the relatives and surprisingly they loved this gems too. And a  few of them even asked me about the preparation methods as well as where to purchase organic quinoa too.

(Serves: sharing portion | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 20 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 Cup Organic Quinoa
  • 2.5 Cups Water / Chicken Broth
  • 1 Slice of Bak Kwa, diced
  • 2 Fresh Shittake Mushroom, sliced
  • 50g Corn Kernel
  • 50g Frozen Green Bean
  • Some Cherry Tomato, halved

Method:-
1. Cook quinoa in a pot with chicken broth, bring it to boil over high heat then lower the heat and simmer with lid on for 10 minutes or till water absorbed. (click here to learn more about quinoa and how to cook and store it)

2. While cooking the quinoa, saute bak kwa and mushroom in a small pan with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil until soften. Toss in sweetcorn and green bean then cook for another 30 seconds.

3. Season the mixture with some salt and pepper, toss in cooked quinoa give it a quick stir till combined.

4. Turn off the heat, scatter cherry tomato on it and serve.



MAIN DISH


[Main Dish] Fried Bee Hoon with Stewed Pork
Fried Been Hoon with Stewed Pork (红烧扣肉米粉) was one of my comfort childhood dish which  my late dad used to make for us as after school lunch. During those days, I love to eat it with lot of cut chillies and I could finished even finished two plates and yet still craving for more. So if you love stewed pork and grandmother style of dishes I am sure you will like this simple and yet delicious one pot dish.

Narcissus Stewed Pork Ribs and Stewed Pork

(Serves: sharing portion | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 15 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 Packet (600g) of Tai Sun Brand Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli)
  • 2 Can of Narcissus Brand Stewed Pork (approx. 383g each)
  • 1 Carrot, julienned
  • 250g Beijing Cabbage or Nappa Cabbage, sliced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

  • Garnishing:
  • Fried Omelette, cut into strips
  • Fried Shallot
  • Coriander
  • Cut Chilli

[Main Dish] Fried Bee Hoon with Stewed Pork
Method:-
1. Soaked bee hoon in warm water till soften then using a scissor give it a few quick snips to break out the bee hoon.

2. Preheat frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute minced garlic till fragrant, add in vegetables and carrot, season with 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder and cook till vegetables are slightly soften. Remove and set aside.

3. With the same frying pan, pour in stewed pork together with the liquid and bring mixture to boil. Reduce the heat, add in bee hoon and simmer over low heat till gravy is being absorbed by the been hoon (you can add in extra 50 - 80ml hot water if you find the bee hoon is too dry or hard when tested).

4. Lastly stir in the vegetable mixture and some pepper,  give it a good toss. Top bee hoon with garnishing and serve immediately.


[Main Dish] Fried Dong Fen
Other than bee hoon, there was also Fried Dong Fen (cellophane noodles) prepared by one of my relatives where she added minced pork, mushroom, Chinese Cabbages and carrot.

Step-by-step recipe for Fried Tung Fun (Glass Noodles) with Shrimp can be found here.

[Main Dish] Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry is one of the common dishes which you can find in most household during Chinese New Year house visits.  This dish is great to go with steamed white rice, bread (especially baguette) or fried bee hoon. And in Singapore, you can easily get pre-packed curry paste which is available in most local supermarkets or fresh curry paste and accompany ingredients from the wet market.

The Chicken Curry we cooked above was made using fresh curry paste which mum obtained from the wet market for cooking 2 whole chicken (weighing around 1.2kg each).  Mum said to make a pot of good curry, you have to fry the curry paste over low heat together with some extra lemongrass and red onion till fragrant plus use freshly squeeze coconut milk.

[Main Dish] Romanesco Broccoli with Scallop
Instead of the usual Broccoli, I bought some Romannesco Broccoli (refer to the photo below) which was in season as I love the crunchy texture which is rather similar to cauliflower and it goes well with stir-fry like what we did above together with carrot and scallop and etc.

Romanesco Broccoli
According to what I Google, Romanesco Broccoli has a more crunchy texture plus delicate and nutty taste as compared to the traditional cauliflower or broccoli. Moreover they are great to toss in salad, pasta, gratin and etc.

[Main Dish] Stir-fry Chap Chai
Chap Chai (杂菜) is popular Chinese New Year vegetarian stir-fry dish with bits and pieces of ingredients such as cabbage/nappa cabbage, carrot, tung fun (dong fen), dried beancurd skin, mushroom, black fungus and fermented beancurd (豆腐乳). In the past this dish is often cooked in big quantity for distributing to the neighbours, relatives and etc during new year.

[Main Dish] Stewed Mushroom with Dried Oyster and Fa Cai
Stewed Mushroom with Dried Oyster is another must have dish during New Year as they have auspicious name which sounds like "Hao Shi (good business) Fa Cai (big money)" or 好市发财 in Mandarin pronunciation.

[Main Dish] Rosemary And Honey Mid-Joint vs White Wine and Garlic Mid-Joint
Similar to last year, I also prepared some chicken mid-joint which comes in twso different flavour such as our all time favourite Rosemary Honey Chicken (recipe) as well as another new flavour with was marinated with White Wine, Garlic and Red Onion.

BAKED CHICKEN MID-JOINT WITH WHITE WINE AND GARLIC

(Make: 12 Mid-joint | Preparation: 30minutes | Baking: 30 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 12 Chicken Mid-joint
  • 50ml White Wine
  • 1 Blub of Garlic, crashed
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:-
1. Marinate chicken mid-joint white wine, garlic, onion, dark and light soy sauce and pepper. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

2. Line baking tray with baking paper, arrange marinated mid-joint (remove from the fridge 10 - 15 minuets before baking) on it and bake in preheated 200° Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for about 30 minutes or till cooked through. (turn mid-joints at least twice during cooking to get an evenly brown colour)


[Main Dish] Assorted Finger Food
I am sure most of us cannot resists having some deep-fried food during such festive occasion so even though all my cousins were all grown up in their late teens they still loves all these nuggets, chicken gyoza, sotong balls, meatall, hotdog, seaweed chicken, wanton (wrapped by my boy) and etc. And guess what, 3 tray of these were gone within 15 minutes and mum had to re-fry another batch for those who came late.

[Main Dish] Ngoh Hiang and Century Eggs
Homemade Ngoh Hiang (flat version) and Century Eggs served with pickled ginger were another great combination that run out fast. For related step-by-step ngoh hiang recipe, please refer here.

[Main Dish] Homemade Pizza
Our freshly made pizza was one of the "hot items" on the request list where many of them told mum to include it in this year menu too. And from what they feedback, they love the crispy thin crust which topped with all-time favourite ingredients such as ham, mushroom, cheese, pineapple, pepperoni and etc.

Furthermore the fun part was they could actually hands-on to make their own pizza by topping it with their desire ingredients; pop it into the preheated oven and they were able to enjoy freshly made pizza in less than 5 minutes.

Step-by-step recipe on Homemade Pizza (crispy thin crust) can be found here.

Chinese New Year Lunch Gathering


DESSERT CORNER


Dessert Corner
For me dessert is a must have in order to make a complete meal. So here we have some homemade lemongrass jelly with cocktail, pandan cake, chocolate beetroot cupcakes and mixed fruit cake to be served together with some hot/cold beverages.

[Dessert Corner] Assorted Drinks

[Dessert Corner] Lemongrass Jelly with Fruits

[Dessert Corner] Lemongrass Jelly with Fruit Cocktail
Actually the lemongrass jelly was meant to be made in Ingot (元宝) shape instead of in plastic container because I just could not find my Koi fish or Ingot jelly mould which I last saw in the storeroom a few weeks back. So no choice, I end up making this jelly using those disposal plastic container. Luckily it still look and taste with the pool of longan and fruit cocktail.

Step-by-step recipe of Lemongrass Konnyaku Jelly can be found here.

[Dessert Corner] Assorted Homemade Cakes

[Dessert Corner] Mixed Fruit Cakes
With fresh and sweet Korean strawberry in season I decide to made this Mixed Fruit Cake together Pandan Chiffon Cake (recipes) and Chocolate Beetroot Cupcake (made using 70% dark chocolate, Dutch processed cocoa powder and beetroot pulp) which I would share the recipe on another separate post.

Out of the 3 cakes, chocolate beetroot cupcake was the most well-received as they commented it taste just like a replicate version of red velvet (without cream cheese topping) with soft, moist and rice chocolate texture.  

[updated on 10 Feb 14] recipes of the cakes shown above are at this link here

[Dessert Corner] Double Chocolate Cake
After all the relative went back in the late afternoon, I decided to bake another quick Double-Chocolate Cake using the left over sour cream from making the mixed fruit cake as a refreshment for bestie and her family who came late in the evening. Furthermore to make the cake look more presentable, I scatter some extra almond flake and dark chocolate chips on it too.

Lastly I would like to wish everyone a Prosperous and Happy Lunar New Year!
新年快乐,发发发!!! 在此我们祝大家万事如意,身体健康,马到成功, 马年行大运!

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