Happy Chinese New Year!
To celebrate, our family will be dining at Fisherman's Terrace tonight. However, we also had a party at home last night (New Year's Eve), inviting friends and family/relatives.
Our Chinese New Year Menu
(This will be one of those "ugly pictures, good food" kind of moments.)
Dumplings are supposed to resemble gold ingots, and hence, are good to serve during New Year dinners. We did two types: a plain one with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce, and another with Sichuan chile oil sauce.
Sichuan "Crossed Hands" Wonton Dumplings, Two Ways
I don't know what this dish is supposed to represent. It just happens to be delicious and popular. =)
Mao's Hunan Red-Braised Pork (毛氏紅燒肉)
Noodles: Pancit Canton
Of course, the Chinese New Year table has to have noodles to symbolize long life.
This is one of CSC's absolute favoritest dishes. Just the mention of "pancit canton" lights up her face and sets her eyes a-twinkling.
We have previously mentioned that we always make a humongo batch of pancit canton. Well, for this party, it was even more humongo than usual!
Yup, we used this whopping 18QT pot. And, there were barely any leftovers!
Recipe: Pancit Canton (Philippine Braised Egg Noodles)
Hmm, it seems impossible to make this dish look good in photographs.
This is simply whole chickens poached with leeks and shiitake mushrooms, served in its own broth. Oh, for interest, I made the standard Chinese ginger and green onion sauce to serve alongside.
When serving chicken for New Year's dinner, one has to serve the chicken whole to symbolize togetherness. There's the proof above: the chicken feet are still attached to the chicken bodies!
Mussels: Baked Tahong
Clams and mussels are supposed to resemble coins (money, in other words). Of course we would want them on the table!
We decided to make the Filipino/Philippine classic, Baked Tahong. Mussels are topped with garlic butter and cheese, then baked. The aroma when they came out of the oven was swoonworthy!
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Vegetable: Braised Napa Cabbage with Abalone
This is one of those dishes with a "subtle, yet profound" taste profile.
A Chinese meal won't be complete without vegetables. We were also going to cook a broccoli dish, but did not have time. We had to pump this out quick!
We braised some napa cabbage in stock until soft, then simply used canned sliced abalone. The stock was then thickened slightly with cornstarch slurry.
Shrimp: Shrimp and Walnut with Honey Mayonnaise
In Cantonese, at least, the word for "shrimp" sounds like "ha". Hence, it is quite nice to have a lot of "ha ha ha" when celebrating the coming new year. =D
This is our ghetto take on the restaurant dish of honey walnuts and shrimp with mayonnaise sauce.
In my much simpler version, I toasted the walnuts first. Then, I cooked the shrimp (seasoning them as I did) and set them aside. I made sure the pan I used was dry before proceeding. I heated some oil, added the walnuts and honey, stirring them round. Next, the mayonnaise went in. When they were well-mixed, I turned off the heat and added the shrimp back. I stirred until everything was well-coated.
This dish is so popular that even my poor-man's version went fast!
Last, but certainly not the least, whole fish!
For me, there is nothing like Cantonese-style steamed whole fish. And so that's what we made. In this case, we used tilapia because that was the only fish available live at the Chinese supermarket.
Needless to say, one has to serve the fish whole!
Why serve fish, you may ask? Let me show you this sign at the Chinese supermarket which offers the explanation:
"The pronunciation of FISH in Chinese is as surplus which implies surplus of wealth."
To make this, we lay the fish on a little julienned ginger and sprinkled them with a little bit of coarse salt. I topped them with more julienned ginger, then some yellow chives. A little splash of Shaoxing wine, and the dish was covered with plastic wrap and microwaved for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Yes, you read right! This was simply microwaved. Easy.
In the meantime, I heated a small pot with a little bit of peanut oil and in a small bowl, added sugar, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil to soy sauce.
Instead of the usual green onions and cilantro, we opted to use yellow chives. So, when the fish finished steaming, I topped them with the tender portion of the yellow chives, then poured the hot oil over them. Sizzle! The soy sauce mixture was poured in next.
And that's our Chinese New Year menu!
Once again, Happy New Year to all!
We are off to Fisherman's Terrace to have professionals cook for us! What to have? Peking duck? Whole steamed fish? Crab or lobster?