On the last day of Chinese New Year, we had friends visiting us from London. As usual, my wife wanted to prepare an evening meal for them – this time would be to celebrate the last day of CNY. The brief was fairly simple – it had to be vegetarian but also gluten-free. My wife was up to the task and set out to cook quite a few dishes.
We started with the vegetarian version of the Prosperity toss which had cucumber strips, chopped tomatoes, shredded parsnips, chopped lettuce, shredded turnip, shredded carrot and Quorn ‘chicken’ slices – all vegetarian and no gluten.
Second dish was stir-fry yam bean or Mang Kuang Char which is served with lettuce leaves – you place the stir-fry yam bean as the filling and using the lettuce leaves as a wrap. To keep this dish vegetarian, there was no added cuttlefish.
Next is Guang Jiang which is a traditional Teochew dish made from yam and usually a peanut stuffing, and wrapped in bean-curd skin. As my oldest daughter is unable to eat peanuts, my wife made these without any peanuts. This was our favourite dish of the night – and was gone in a flash.
Soy eggs sliced in half. These were very salty, and hence should be eaten with something plain.
The vegetarian ‘chicken’ curry had Quorn ‘chicken pieces’, aubergine, courgette, tofu sticks, okra, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
My wife also cooked steamed tofu, served with bean-curd skin, mushrooms and black fungus.
For the vegetable dish, my wife blanched asparagus, baby corn and Pak Choi, and served it with sesame oil and gluten-free soy sauce.
We even made a batch of gluten-free salted egg yolk cookies – these were more crumbly and would melt in the mouth. But they otherwise tasted the same as the normal cookies.
Our guests did enjoy the meal very much. It goes to show that it is actually fairly easy in England to buy ingredients to prepare a meal to suit any dietary restriction.