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  • Writer's pictureKay Redrup

Family Chinese New Year

Our little tight group of immediate family were all in different parts of the world throughout 2023 Chinese New Year celebrations. This evening 4 of us were in one place. Two others sent their Lo Hei wishes, which I added to the Lo Hei Salad. And yes, I'm well aware that we have royalty begun the year of the rabbit, but there are no rules when you can see in the New Year together. As many of your know, I consider rules to be guidelines.

Five animal elements were at the table: Earth supporting the candle (fire), Water (not yet poured) in the glasses, Wooden chopsticks, metal (cutlery) and then joss-sticks for a bit of ambience.

I went full on Singapore to start with (or at least the Singapore version of something). Pineapple tarts, which are very likely Malaysian in origin. The Peranakans came up with this fabulous treat. Who are the Peranakans (some call Nyonyas). They were a mix of Chinese and Malay races. Usually the male was Chinese and the Malay brides tried to please their husbands by cooking Chinese dishes with twists from their own gastronomy culture. In this case, China is the origin of the tart and Malaysia had an abundance of pineapple. The pineapple in the centre is cooked until you've reached a sticky paste, that when cool can form a ball. The pastry tends to be flaky and the addition of a clove is genius. Don't be tempted to remove it, it takes this mouthful to another level.

And then, what we have been waiting for, make our wishes for the coming year, toss them into a salad, mix it all up and devour it in the hope they all do come true. Singapore has embraced this tradition and I've added to it by giving everyone at the table a chance to add an ingredient to the salad with their wish.

This Lo Hei contained: shredded daikon radish, pickled ginger, watermelon turnip, shredded, deep fried crispy rich noodles, shredded carrot, sliced red cabbage and lots of salmon gravlax in the middle. Added to the dish were crispy onions, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, white pepper and 5 star powder. The salad sauce is a mix of plum sauce, soy sauce, sesame seed oil.

And then, Kai's and my favourite dish, Singapore carrot cake. It's a labour of love. Daikon is finely chopped and mixed with rice flour, to then be steamed and cooled in the fridge for a day to set. then cut into cubes and fried. Additions (to this particular one) was Chinese sausage, with the usual pickled radish, garlic, eggs, spring onions and sauce.

The main courses: Sweet and sour Cantonese chicken.

celery with soy sauce

Aubergine, first steamed, then browned in a pan, then soy sauce, black vinegar and a little sugar is added. this has become my favourite dish to have with plain rice.

another favorite of mine: Chicken breast with star anise and cashew nuts and dried fried red chillies.

For dessert we had lychee martini cake. It's such a light and airy sponge. Almost like eating flavored air, which is dangerous of course as it does contain calories.

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