The dragon year started today. As per tradition, CNY eve is the night that families get together for a big reunion dinner because by then, everyone would have gathered at home and its the beginning of the holiday period. Whenever I am at home in Singapore, my parents will have a meal of hotpot. It is basically a pot, on a portable hot stove. My mom would have made the soup stock earlier in the day, and then when it is time for dinner, all of us will gather around the table where the hot pot is sitting, and then start putting foods into the soup and eat together. For a lot of my US-based friends, I can only imagine that the idea of sharing food like that is mildly repulsive since everyone is probably worried about hygiene. But for us, that’s tradition. As per tradition, there are also various specific foods that are always eaten such as shrimp, to represent laughter for the new year, fish, for prosperity, some green vegetables, also for prosperity, and chicken for family togetherness. Because I am not at home, and I’m living alone, I tried to make a meal with all the essential CNY foods. I used some of the recipes I found online to make my dinner.
For the fish, I made a poached salmon dish using a recipe I found from cook with susan(and for once, I actually followed the recipe because I was so afraid to mess up), and I thought it actually turned out quite good. My favorite part was the seasoned oil. My mom had taught me how to make steamed fish easily before,and it was sort of the same thing. We would steam the fish first, and then heat up some oil and then pour the hot oil over the cooked fish. This receipe called for having the salmon to be ‘poached’ in the boiled water, without the fire on for 8 mins. I was a little iffy about doing that at first because I was worried about the salmon not being cooked but I reasoned that I eat raw salmon all the time with Sushi anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. I’m not sure I would do that with other fish though. I will still use the same recipe for making the seasoned oil, but would probably make sure that the fish is cooked first.
And then using Christine’s Recipes website, made a dish of stir fried prawns with eggs, except that instead of using sherry, I used Rosea (I didn’t have any sherry handy) for the marination of the prawns. I thought the use of the milk to make the scrambed eggs was ingenious, because it did make the eggs taste a lot smoother. But to be honest with you, I probably will be too lazy to buy milk next time just to make this dish. I made an exception this time because it was CNY, but I guess when I want to make this dish again, I might not use milk unless if I happen to have any lying around. I wonder if soy milk would work as well though?
The chicken dish was the Brisbane soy sauce chicken that I had posted about in an earlier post. All in all, not too bad. Its a good thing though that I don’t have a fire alarm in my kitchen. After I had heated the oil, I added some sugar to make the dish taste sweeter, and immediately, the sugar burned to a charcoal black! I turned off the stove, turned on the fan above said stove, and scooped the burnt sugar into the sink but kept the oil, and just kept on cookin’! I added some ginger, some onions and garlic, fried those together, then I added the chicken with a cup of water and allowed it to cook at low heat for 30 mins. And as per tradition, we also make sure that there is left over food for the next day, to represent an abundant new year. So that’s it folks! Happy Year of the Dragon!