YEAR OF THE TIGER 2022
Chinese New Year is one of my favorite times of year. Another chance at a new beginning, (if the New year resolutions were trashed 3 mins after midnight (as per my usual). But mostly it's a chance to bring something from my home to my new home and create an experience not otherwise to be had outside a Chinese household. I do follow some of the traditions. On the first day of Chinese New Year we have a family sit down meal and honor our ancestors by placing food at an empty seat (it gets eaten later, although my son refuses as he says it's like eating their souls. He's the sign of the Rabbit (sensitive); I'm the Rat, so will eat everything)).
Then there is a Pop-up, which is the big celebration to welcome in the new animal and put together some of the traditional foods. Not very Chinese but everyone likes fortune cookies. Each table was given one, chosen randomly. I like to change things up every year, and that includes a lot of the dishes; but I like having a whole fish to symbolize completeness and abundance, and really like the, more Singaporean, tradition of Lo Hei. It's a salad which includes raw fish. Every guest has a little bowl with an ingredient to add to the salad and sprinkles this on the main dish presenting a wish for all at the table (good health, abundance, love and a Caribbean holiday (as offered by one guest)). Then everyone gathers up their chopsticks and tosses the salad, mixing in all ingredients.
This year's Lo Hei consisted of Smoked salmon, gravlax salmon, shredded carrot, daikon, radish and sliced red cabbage, crispy rice noodles, pickled ginger. Additions of : 5-spice powder, sesame seed oil, spiced oil, plum sauce, peanuts, sesame seeds, crispy onions, soy sauce.
The next Course was chicken & prawn wontons in clear chicken broth.
And then the mass of main course dishes: fried rice with beef jerky, whole sea bream in black bean, poached chicken, sweet aubergine with garlic, 3 pepper chicken, ants crawling on tree (minced beef & glass noodles).
For dessert I thought I'd half invent something and made Earl Grey tea jelly with oat milk and grape syrup caramel. This was served with egg custard tarts.