Everyone has heard of the twelve days of Christmas. But I would like to introduce you to the 10-course dinner for Chinese New Year. In chinese culture, we do like even numbers and the number 10 in particular is considered to be a perfect number. So a 10 course dinner can be symbolic of a perfect meal – in this instance it was prepared by my wife (with a little assistance from my youngest daughter).
While I was at work, my wife was busy shopping and preparing the various dishes. She managed to cook all 10 dishes by 7:30pm in the evening. Hence our dinner started around that time and finished just before 9:30pm. As you can imagine, with 10 dishes to photograph, there are so many photos to process and so much to write about. Hence it was necessary to delay posting about this meal until I had time to do it justice. But I’m sure you will agree that it was worth the wait.
So here are the 10 dishes of Chinese New Year (2015).
Dish No. 1:
Bak Keng or mom’s meat rolls is one of our family’s favourite dishes. This is a traditional family dish, the recipe for this was handed down by my mother-in-law to my wife. Ingredients include pork mince, prawns, yam bean (many kwang)and carrots (mushroom was omitted in our version to suit family taste), all wrapped in bean curd skin. Clearly she has perfected this, as it is absolutely delicious (and the first dish we finished).
Dish No. 2:
Lobster stir-fried with ginger and spring onion. Delicious dish (as good as in any seafood restaurant) which my youngest daughter could not wait to tuck into.
Dish No. 3:
Roast duck. This dish requires a long preparation process. This begins with marinating the inside of the duck with sugar, salt, five spice, star anise and shallot. Then to open the pores of the skin, hot water is poured onto the duck. This is followed by applying a coating of vinegar, hot water and honey painted onto the skin (4 coats).
Then the duck needs to be hung up for about 6 hours, to air dry it and increase crispiness of the duck skin. Only after this long process is the duck ready to be placed into the oven for roasting, which will also allow the fat to liquefy and drain out of the duck. Cooking time at 220 degree celsius (fan oven) for 40 minutes (turn at 15 minute intervals). As you can see, the duck looks very appetising and the meat retains its natural juices. Delicious.
Dish No. 4:
Roast Pork. My wife seasoned the pork belly with salt and various spices. Then it just needed to do its time in the oven. And voila – nice delicious and crispy roast pork.
Dish No. 5:
Yusheng or raw fish salad dish is a Teochew raw fish salad which is eaten during Chinese New Year, usually with various sauces (which we omitted in our version). The tradition is for all family members to join in the ‘Prosperity toss’ and mixing up all the various ingredients together prior to eating it. Here we used smoked salmon in place of raw fish, and Doritos instead of chinese shrimp crackers.