Love this type of Chinese Calendar. It gives you guidelines to live day by day.
The Chinese Reunion dinner fell on the 9/2/2013. To me, this is the most important dinner for the year. It is the gathering of family members (everybody, if possible) at the dining table. It is not about the amount of food that is being served, though the more the merrier and I will always try to include the favourite dishes of the family members, if possible. It is the joy, happiness, laughter and thankfulness as we all can and still able gather together looking forward to a new year with its new opportunities. It is time to sit down and enjoy the meal- no rush, not TV dinners, please, no mobiles phones (ok only for taking photos of my food!)
My once-a- year dining set
To save time on the cooking, I had the Braised Pig Trotters with Mushroom and Dried Oysters cooking in the slow cooker overnight.
There was a very long queue at the Roasted Pork stall even though I was at the market early. I then decided not to get the roasted pork (bet it was double the price too!) but instead to cook Char Siew instead. This method was taught by Aunty - easy and time saving. Marinate the pork belly (preferably overnight) with mixture of soya sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, a teaspoon of dark soya sauce and dash of chinese cooking wine and sesame oil. Put everything in a thick base sauce pan and let it simmered over medium low heat till most liquid had evaporated, turning the meat every now and then to coat them evenly (around 20-25 minutes).
Must have- ha ha ha - (laughter) for the New Year.
Lightly season with salt and pepper and pan fry till fragrant.
Now where is the fish? This year I did not cook a whole fish instead I used fish paste. Since my sister-in-law's mother was joining us for the dinner, I cooked the dish "LU SIEW PING ONN" (aka Steamed Fish Paste with taufoo). This is suitable for both the young and old- soft, no need to mind the bones and easy to digest!.
I forgot to take a photo that day. This is an old photo to show how the dish look like. Mix the fish paste with 2 pieces of soft white taufoo. It is not necessary to add any salt if using store-bought fish paste, just some pepper. Add some diced spring onions and mix well. Drizzle with dash of sesame oil and oil and steam for just 15 minutes over medium heat.
Instead of just having a dish of Steamed Waxed Meat, I prefer to cook the waxed meat with rice. It is comfort food at its best. Hot rice with the fragrance of the waxed meat wafting up! This is the season to eat these delicacies while they are still fresh. I used a waxed duck thigh, a pair of duck liver sausage, a pair of waxed sausage and a piece of Kwai Fah waxed meat. No other seasoning is needed at all. Everyone had second helpings- good things always come double!
Last but not least a good bowl of Lotus Root and Arrowroot Soup to finish the meal.
After clearing up, it was time to get ready the angpow packets for tomorrow!