Tuesday 10 March 2015

[With Recipes] 2015 Chinese New Year Lunch Gathering With Relatives

Like previous two years, mum invited our relatives to come over for lunch gathering on the second day of Chinese New Year where everyone gets together to mingle around and enjoy some homecook feast. As you know to prepare a semi-buffet for a big group of 30 people was indeed a challenging job but thanks God with past years experience we managed to get everything ready just in time for lunch.

In this post I would be sharing a few recipes on the dishes and bakes that we prepared  and I hope they might come in handy for you too.

Lunch Menu
It's fun to design and plan your own food menu for invitation but somehow it could be a headache when drafting the list of items to prepare from appetizer to dessert. So after a few discussions with mum plus reference to our previous years menu; above it what we prepared for this year gathering.

(Shrimp and Potato Salad)

[Appetizer] Shrimp and Potato Salad
Since I am unable to decide on whether shrimp or potato salad I ended up combing the two ingredients together to make this Japanese Shrimp and Potato Salad using Japanese mayonnaise which is more tangy and flavoursome as compared to the western egg mayonnaise. Most of the guests love the taste and texture of this salad whereby you get bits of this and that binding together making it soft (potato) and crunch (cucumber and shrimp) when consume.

(Yield: 8 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 15 minutes)

  • 6 Large Prawns
  • 3 Medium Potato
  • 2 Hard-boiled Egg, diced
  • 1 Japanese Cucumber, diced
  • 80g Broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 4 Tablespoons Japanese Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Some Toasted Walnut (optional), lightly crashed

1. Bring a pot of water with 1/4 teaspoon of salt plus 1 teaspoon of cooking wine to boil. Add prawns (with shell) and cook for 2 minutes until cooked, drain and place them in ice-bath for 5 minutes before removing the shell and cut into bite size.

2. Peel the outer skin of the potato, diced and cook in simmering water with 1/4 teaspoon of salt until soften. Alternatively you can choose to steam or microwave it till soften.

3. Blanch broccoli florets in boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse them under tap water for a few seconds. Drain well and set aside.

4. Combine all the ingredients in a big salad bowl, toss them lightly till well mixed. Set set in the fridge to chill before serving.


[Main] Honey Mustard Mid-Joints
This dish was introduced to me by Tracy who shared some of her quick and delicious chicken recipes which we all loved. With this simple recipe you can make a few versions by twisting the ingredients;  add in some rosemary, drop in spoonful of cream mustard for extra flavour, sprinkle some dried chilli flakes or even drop in a few garlic cloves.

(Yield: 8-10 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes)

  • 1kg Chicken Mid-joints
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard
  • 3 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • Rind of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary, optional

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and marinate chicken mid-joint for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.

2. Arrange mid-joints in baking dish then pour over the marinade (top with extra rosemary and lemon peel if preferred) and baked in preheated 200°C / 392°F oven for 25 minutes until cooked and nicely browned, turning twice in between.

[Main] Fish Maw Soup
A light version of Fish Maw Soup (check up another version here) which consists mainly fish maw and Chinese cabbage. Beside the two mentioned ingredients mum also add in some homemade minced meatballs and abalone slices for bites instead of crab meat or shred chicken.

(Yield: 10 | Preparation: 30 minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes)

  • 150g Fish Maw (鱼鳔)
  • 500g Chinese Cabbage, cut into chunks
  • 1 Can Mushrooms (whole) (蘑菇), halved
  • 150g Marinated Minced Meat, roll into meatball
  • 1 Canned Abalone, sliced
  • 2 Litres Chicken Broth
  • 1 Litre Boiling Water
  • 1 Egg White (optional), beaten
  • Cornstarch Solution

  • To Serve:
  • Coriander, Pepper and Black Vinegar

1. Bring a big pot of water to boil, blanch fish maw in boiling water for 2 minutes. Rinse with water, squeezed dry and repeat the process again for another 1 - 2 times to remove the oil and fishy smell.

2. Next squeezed dry and cut them into 1" thick chunks, set aside.

3. To prepare the soup:- Saute 2 slices of ginger and 1 stalk of spring onion with 1/2 tablespoon of oil till fragrant, toss in vegetables and cook for another minute before adding in mushrooms, fish maw, soup broth and water.

4. Once mixture comes to boil, low the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or more until fish maw soften.

5. Next drop in minced meatballs and abalone (sliced) then continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Thicken soup with some cornstarch solution if you prefer a slightly thicker soup broth.

6. Lastly remove pot from heat, stir in lightly beaten egg white and serve warm.

[Main] Braised Pork Belly
Braised Pork Belly with shittake mushrooms and hard-boiled eggs to go with some steamed bun is another on demand dish for that day. And while cutting the eggs we were surprised to find one of them with double yolks in it which marks an auspicious sign during Chinese New Year.

[Main] Chicken Curry
Apart from steamboat, Chicken Curry is one of the must have item which often appears in new year feast. Currently our favourite curry paste is from A1 Brand (Instant Chicken Curry Paste) which you can easily get from supermarkets or grocery stores. Even though the chilli paste is already good on its own but we still prefer to add in extra ingredients such as brown onion, lemongrass and tomato to enhance the taste.

[Main] Hakka Abacus Seeds
Hakka Abacus Seeds aka 算盘子 is made with steamed yam and tapioca flour which then shaped into abacus shape like beads. This traditional Hakka dish (made by mother-in-law) can be made into either dry or soup version depending on each household preference. For related recipe on making this dish, please refer to another post here.

[Main] Assorted CP Food Pork and Chicken Gyoza
While doing grocery shopping we saw these new CP Foods Pork and Chicken Gyoza in supermarkets so we decided to grab a few packets during their New Year promotion. These frozen pork and chicken gyoza comes in two different choices (with or without chives) where you can use them for either steamboat, pan-fry or deep-fry. For us we prefer to pan-fry them till golden brown; leaving it with a crisp outer skin and yet moist and juicy fillings in it.

A short video clip on our Chinese New Year gathering preparation.

Chinese New Year Lunch Gathering


Dessert Corner
As usual dessert corner for this year also comes with drinks, cakes, dessert as well as some new year goodies like pineapple tarts, kueh balu, bak kwa and etc. Besides those I also made three different type of cakes; chiffon cake (light and spongy), pound cake (rich and intense) and cheesecake (smooth and creamy) to cater for individual preference. 

[Dessert Corner] Orange Chocolate Chiffon Cake
For a change as well as new year theme, the boy and I baked Orange Chocolate Chiffon Cake instead of Pandan flavour which we made last year. This dual flavour cake is spongy, moist and filled with orange scented fragrant plus hint of chocolatey taste from the Dutch cocoa powder used. 

(Yield: 20cm cake | Preparation: 15 minutes | Baking: 40 minutes)

  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 20g Caster Sugar
  • Rind of 1 Orange
  • 80ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • 40ml Corn Oil
  • 70g Cake Flour
  • 10g Valrhona Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder, optional

  • Meringue Batter:
  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 80g Caster Sugar
  • 10g Cornflour

- I use 60ml Orange juice + 20ml Grand Marnier (orange liquor) or you can use 80ml of orange juice.

[Dessert Corner] Steps on preparing the orange chocolate chiffon cake
1. Beat egg yolks with sugar till creamy before stirring in oil, 50ml orange juice and orange rind in order.

2. Next add in sieved flour (with baking powder if using) and whisk till no trace of flour found.

3. Set aside 1/4 of the batter (about 2 tablespoons) and whisk in sieved cocoa powder till combined. Slowly divide the remaining orange juice into plain and cocoa batter to achieve desire consistency. Set aside.

4. Beat egg whites till frosty, slowly add in sugar mixture (sugar + cornflour) and beat until stiff peaks.

5. Using a balloon whisk gently fold in egg whites into the prepared egg yolks batter in 3 batches till no trace of whites and the mixture are well combined.

- Here is the tricky part where you need to separate the egg whites to use on both plain and cocoa batter. I will suggest 3 spoons of whites for plain and 1 spoon for cocoa.

6. Lift up the bowl to height, pour in the mixture alternatively to achieve marble effect into the tube pan and tap the pan twice on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.

7. Bake the cake in preheated 160°C / 320°F oven (2nd lower rack) for about 40 minutes or when the surfaces turns golden brown (you can insert a skewer into the centre and test if it comes out clean).

8. Remove it from the oven and invert the pan immediately to let it rest on top of a cup. Make sure it cool completely before unmould.

9. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife (i use a small plastic spatula) around the inside of the pan and the center core.

10. Release the cake and run the knife/spatula along the base of the pan to remove the cake completely.

[Dessert Corner] Double Chocolate Cake
Made this Double Chocolate Cake the night before our gathering upon request from one of my cousin who loves this moist and chocolate over dose treat.  And to intend the flavour of the cake I also add in 2 tablespoons of  sour cream which was leftover from making the mini cheesecake.

(Yield: 2 Small Loaf | Preparation: 15 minutes | Baking: 50 minutes)

  • 140g All-purpose Plain Flour
  • 60g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes
  • 225g Unsalted Butter, soften
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 5 (55g each) Eggs
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 50g 70% Dark Chocolate (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 175°C / 347°F. Grease and flour two small loaf pan (3 x 6" each).

2. Cream butter, sugar and zest of orange till light and creamy. Follow the steps for making this cake from our Double Chocolate Pound Cake post.

[Dessert Corner] Assorted Mini Cheesecake
We love cheesecake and I am sure most of you love Oreo Cheesecake too. But instead of making an 8" round cheesecake, I decided to make them into mini bite-size portion which is easier to consume and as well as shorter baking time. Furthermore you can also serve them with some fresh berries, whipped cream or just on its own which I am sure it would make a hit for your dessert corner.
[Dessert Corner] Ingredients for mini oreo cheesecake

Recipe adapted from Kraft OREO Upside-down Mini Cheesecake here.

(Yield: 16 mini cups | Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking: 18 minutes)

  • 2 Packets of Oreo Cookie (about 25 pieces)
  • 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, soften
  • 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Some Extra Oreo Cookies, break into quarter

[Dessert Corner] Steps on making mini Oreo Cheesecake
1. Preheat oven to 170°C / 338°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or use disposal cupcake liner.

2. Place 1 Oreo cookie at the bottom of each cup liner and set aside.

3. Beat cream cheese till smooth then gradually add in sugar and continue to beat until combined.

4. Next add in vanilla extract, sour cream and egg one after another and beat till well mixed.

5. Stir in chipped cookies using spatula then divide batter evenly into prepared cups and fill them to 3/4 full.

6. Top with some extra Oreo cookie if prefer then bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until almost set.

7. Remove and cool completely then chill for at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge before serving.

Mini Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Ingredients: (yield 16)
  • 16 Pieces of Oreo Cookie
  • 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, soften
  • 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Some Blueberry Compote and Berries

1. Follow the steps above from making the Oreo Cheesecake, chill and assemble the Mixed Berry Cheesecake with 1/2 tablespoon of blueberry compote and fresh berries before serving.

[Dessert Corner] Teochew-style Yam and Coconut Milk
This is one of my favourite childhood dessert other than Or Nee (yam paste) which we get to eat only during festive occasions like Chinese New Year or praying ancestors. The secret to perfect this recipe is to get hold of good quality of Yam / Taro (芋头) which is soft and fragrant. 

(Yield: 8 | Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking: 10 minutes)

  • 500g Yam (taro)
  • 250g Orange Sweet Potato or Pumpkin
  • 150g Castor Sugar
  • 200ml Coconut Milk
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 Packet of Gingko Nuts
  • Knot of Pandan Leaves
  • Some Fried Shallot and Oil

1. Removed the outer skin of the yam and sweet potato/pumpkin them cut them into cubes/chunks depends on your preference.

2. Steamed yam and pumpkin separately for about 5 - 8 minutes until slightly soften. Remove and set aside.

3. While cooking the sweet potato/pumpkin, blanch gingko nuts (remove the center piths using a toothpick before use) in boil water for 3 minutes, remove and rinse with water. Drain well and marinate it with 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside.

4. Preheat frying pan with 1 tablespoon of shallot oil, add in cooked yam and sweet potato them give them a few stirs to coat the oil. Add in gingko nuts, coconut milk and water.

5. Simmer the mixture over low heat for about 5 minutes. Dish up and top with some extra shallot flakes and serve warm.

[Dessert Corner] Assorted Drinks
I am always curious to peep into other household cooler box during new year to see what drinks they offer to their guests. I still remember during my childhood time, there wasn't many choices of drinks like what we have today and the one I had deep impression was F&N orange juice which we mostly probably gets to enjoy only during Chinese New Year.

[Dessert Corner] Lemongrass Jelly with Cocktail
Simply love this refreshing dessert especially on hot afternoon or after a hearty feast. The springy texture of the Konnyaku Jelly is filled with hint of lemongrass taste which goes well with the pool ice-cold mixed cocktail. You can find the step-by-step recipe of Lemongrass Konnyaku Jelly can be found here.

For dinner we had some small portion of dishes which mum set aside for us in the afternoon so that I just need to reheat them without the trouble of cooking another meal after such busy day.

1 comment:

  1. What a feast! I am sure your guests all went home feeling very content and happy.


Dear All,

Thanks for leaving down your comments. I do value each and every of your suggestion(s) or comment(s) so if you are signing off as Anonymous, please kindly leave your Name so that I could address you. Thanks

Lastly, please DO NOT SPAM as Spam comments will be deleted immediately.

Ellena (Cuisine Paradise)