have you ever had this nagging feeling of what to cook whenever a festive season is around the corner? what mood do i want to create? i want it to be different but not too overwhelming for my guests....who am i inviting? what is the occasion? are they adults or children? big eaters or mousy eaters? well there is room for everyone... read on.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Malaysian Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

In our chinese culture, Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner is a must and that's when everyone in the family will gather and have a feast. This is a time to catch up with our love ones and family and have a great time. One of my all time favourite is the "Traditional Chinese Steamboat". Just love whole package of eating fresh food dunked into a pot of hot bubbling clear soup with aromatic steam filling the dinning room. Hmmmm makes me hungry just thinking about it. The best part in a steamboat is that you can cook whatever you like in the soup and eat whatever you like and however much you like. Here is my own personal steamboat recipe I like to share with you.

I like vegetarian stock for the soup, you can replace it with chicken soup if you like but I thought this vegetarian stock really brings out the sweetness of the fresh meat and vegetables dunked in.

Vegetable Stock for soup 500 gm fresh soya bean sprouts (otherwise known as taugeh) 10 small dried chinese mushrooms - soak them in boiling water for 20 mins before use 6 stalks of spring onions (also known as scallions) - wash and tie them in a knot for better flavour 3 litres of water 4 Tbsp of Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsin fragrant rice wine) 2 tsp of sea salt Makes approx. 2 litres of stock. Fit for freezing.

  • Fill a stock pot with 3 litres of filtered water, then put in the sprouts, mushrooms and spring onions and bring it to boil.
  • Once bubbling, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Leave to cool for a while, then strain out all solids.
  • Return liquid to pot and add rice wine and salt.
  • Bring to boil for 5 minutes and set to cool.
  • Place stock in a large steamboat wok (approx. 15 in diameter) and bring to boil when dinner starts.

Raw and marinated ingredients to dunk into the hot simmering soup

2 thinly sliced raw pork fillets (marinated with 6 Tbsp light soya sauce, 1 Tbsp dark soya sauce, 2 Tbsp julienne of ginger, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, 6 Tbsp ginger wine, sea salt and pepper to taste)

1 kg of large fresh prawns, shelled and deveined (marinated with 3 Tbsp finely sliced spring onions, 2 Tbsp julienne of ginger, 3 Tbsp of Shao Hsin rice wine, sea salt and pepper to taste)

500 gms thinly sliced Australian chuck beef (marinated with 1 Tbsp light soya sauce, 1 Tbsp Lea & Perrin sauce, 3 Tbsp Red wine, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper and sea saltto taste)

500 gms thinly sliced free range chicken fillets (marinated with 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, Shao Hsin rice wine, 2 Tbsp julienne of ginger, 1 tsp brown sugar, sea salt and pepper to taste)

500 gms thinly sliced fish fillets (marinated with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp finely sliced coriander, 2 Tbsp ginger paste, 1 tsp white sugar, sea salt and pepper to taste)

3 giant squid cut to your liking (marinated with 1 Tbsp ginger paste, 1 Tbsp fresh bird eye chilli paste, 1 tsp brown sugar, a dash of fish sauce, juice of 1 lime, sea salt and pepper to taste)

2 dozens fresh scallops, 1 bunch choy sum, 1 bunch siew pak choy, 1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves, 1/2 bunch coriander, 1/2 bunch spring onions, 1 medium sized chinese white cabbage, some fresh mushrooms, 2-3 bunches enoki mushrooms, some tung fun, chinese black fungus (soaked in water first), 1 dozen century quails eggs and 10 pre-boiled quails eggs

Dipping sauces and condiments

Garlic oil (1 bulb of finely chopped garlic sauteed in olive oil till lightly brown and aromatic)

Sambal belacan (5 big red chillies, 5 small bird-eye chillies, 1 piece of toasted belacan or prawn paste, juice of 2 limes, sea salt all pounded together in a mortar until it becomes a paste)

10 bird-eye chillies (finely cut and served soaked in light soya sauce)

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