Tag Archives: CNY

Chinese New Year lunch

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

Chinese New Year has always been one of my favourite family meals. There’s memorable “must haves” which we eat every year, like Yee Sang…

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

Also known as Yu Sheng, this raw fish and vegetable salad is eaten at Chinese New Year for prosperity.

This year’s salad was prepared by my Mum (and plated by me!) ready for the whole family to toss with chopsticks for good luck. Our salad featured strips of smoked salmon, and was tossed in a sweet dressing flavoured with sesame and hoisin sauce.

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

I brought along my homemade roasted pork belly, which I carved up into small pieces before serving. You can find the recipe for roasted pork belly here!

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

Jac and TFP brought some plump and juicy prawns, which Jac cooked in the wok at Mum and Dad’s with lots of ginger and garlic. She added a sprinkling of chili and spring onions over the final dish – left out of the cooking to keep the spice low for our prawn loving nieces, Ruby and Zoe!

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012Mum made the traditional Chap Chye, a vegetarian dish which features chinese mushrooms, cabbage, rice vermicelli, knotted dried lily buds and different kinds of fungi – like fatt choy, a black hairy looking fungus that is eaten for wealth at this time of year.

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

There was also Peri-Peri chicken wings – a Chew family fave, though not exactly Chinese ;)

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

My older sister Flexnib and her husband M brought not one, but two, roasted ducks from our favourite roast shop, Hong Kong Barbecue!

She said that when she went in to pick up the order, the restaurant was working off two A4 pages of pre-orders - so if you’re ever planning on a Chinese roast dinner on Chinese New Year eve, take note, and order ahead!

We enjoyed everything with hot steamed rice. The verdict? According to my four year old niece, Ruby, I like prawns and the rice with the sauce the best. The sauce she was referring to came from the roasted ducks, and is a favourite of pretty much all of us, grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts! :)

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

After the lunch dishes were cleared away, I unpacked some peanut biscuits, which I made the day before.

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

Mum also carved up a juicy red watermelon.

Chinese New Year reunion dinner 2012

We finished off the meal with my sister-in-law A’s fantastic homemade ice cream – vanilla bean and strawberry!

Roasted pork belly for Chinese New Year

Roasted pork belly

Roasted pork belly

Roasted pork belly

My recipe was originally published on The Food Pornographer

For this recipe, I purchased two pieces of corn fed pork belly from Wing Hong Butcher in Northbridge that weighed about 4 kg (raw weight) in total.

Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • half an onion
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup gula melaka or brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used some pear cider vinegar)
  • A splash of mushroom soy
  • 2 tb sugar

At least one day before you plan to eat the pork

Part one: marinade

  1. Blitz the onion and garlic in a food processor until pureed. Stir in sauces and sugars.
  2. Place the mixture in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the pork. Add the whole spices.
  3. Pierce the pork all over the flesh side with a small knife to allow the flavours to penetrate. Place pork flesh side down into marinade. Try to avoid getting the marinade on the skin side.
  4. Allow to marinade for at least six to eight hours.

Roasted pork belly

Part two: slow cooking

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Remove the baking dish from the fridge, and cover well with foil.
  3. Do not uncover during cooking. Check after 45 minutes to ensure there’s plenty of liquid in the dish – add a little water if it’s looking dry.
  4. Bake for a total 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. Place paper towel on top of the skin, weigh it down (I used two 2.5kg weights from J’s weights set over a baking tray!) and leave the pork in the fridge overnight.

Roasted pork belly

The day of cooking and feasting

Part three: roasting

  1. Remove the weights and paper towel, rub a little vegetable oil and salt into the skin.
  2. Allow the pork to come to closer to room temperature as you preheat the oven preheat to 250 degrees celsius.
  3. Place the pork on a rack in a baking tray, and cook it in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until the skin begins to crisp up. It should start to bubble. If you feel you need more time to achieve better skin, go ahead. Different ovens may need more or less time.
  4. Once you feel satisfied with crispness of the skin, turn the oven down to 160 degrees celsius and cook the pork for an additional 45 minutes.
  5. Rest the pork for an hour before serving. Slice it up using a sharp knife or cleaver and serve. Thank me later.

Carving the pork belly

I started chopping the pork using one of Mum’s knives before realising I would need something heftier… My brother stepped in a gave the cleaver a tone before I got back to work.

Roasted pork belly

Thanks to J for the photos – my hands were full :)

Peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

Peanuts!

Gong hei fat choy!

As a kid, the wafting smell of roasted peanuts and the whirring of the food processor meant one thing. Peanut biscuits. 

My grandma would pull up a chair, hand me a chopstick, and I’d watch with awe as she mixed together sandy-looking ground peanuts, plain flour, sugar, oil and salt into a pliable dough. It was always even better than play dough.

Together, we’d roll small balls of the soft dough between our palms, placing them on baking trays lined with greasproof paper.

Then, wielding my chopstick, I would gleefully prod belly buttons into each plump biscuit, leaving a perfect circle in the centre of each sweet morsel.

Peanut biscuits for Chinese New YearMost families get together for a ‘reunion dinner’ on the eve of the lunar new year. 

Being big fans of homophones, many of the foods eaten and shared friends and family are symbolic – presented and eaten to ensure prosperity and good fortune in the year ahead.

Making peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

From left: The perfect sandy texture.
You’ll know the mix is perfect when it looks like this.

Peanut biscuits
Recipe via Billy, A Table For Two!

Makes about 30 – 40 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 300g peanuts, fried/roasted and ground until fine
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • about 200ml of canola oil (or other neutral flavoured oil) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten, for glazing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lay out 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Roast the peanuts by frying them in a frying pan (dry, no oil). Grind the roasted peanuts till fine in a food processor. They’ll need to be quite sandy in texture – it’ll look  clumpy in the bowl of the mixer, but don’t worry. 
  3. Place ground peanuts in a large mixing bowl with the flour, salt and sugar. Mix together until well combined and lump free.
  4. Drizzle half of the oil into the bowl and combine the mixture with a clean hand, kneading gently.
  5. Keep adding a little more oil at a time. You’ll need to keep kneading to ensure the sugar melts and that the mix is soft and pliable, but firm enough that it doesn’t stick to your hands. 
  6. The mix is ready when you can roll the dough into smooth balls that don’t crack. If your mix is still too dry, add a little more oil and mix again.
  7. Take a heaped teaspoonfuls of the mix and roll into small balls. Place on baking sheets. of the mixture into your palm, and roll them into small balls. Place them on the baking sheets.
  8. Take a chopstick, poke a ‘belly button’ into each biscuit, and glaze with beaten egg.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Making peanut biscuits for Chinese New Year

Use a chopstick to create a ‘belly button’ indent in each biscuit.

These golden biscuits are probably supposed to resemble gold ingots, or oranges. Or so I assume, as I’ve read that the word for oranges also sounds like the word fortune in Chinese. And I think adding the chopstick action kind of makes these look like mini-navel oranges…sort of.

My grandma always used to make dozens and dozens of these every year for Chinese New Year, ready for visiting friends and family, neighbours and greedy grandchildren (that’s me).

They’re delicious with a cup of tea, and good at any time of year.