Year of the Rat

February 7, 2008 at 9:15 am 5 comments

chinese new year
(dried candied vegetables, red carnations, happy golden rat, CCTV New Year Special… so weird)
The lunar new year means lots of red everywhere, and of course the food. My mom hit a new record, with 10 dishes.
Whole steamed carp (I think) with soy sauce, cilantro and scallions. To save time my mom steamed the whole plate in a bag in the microwave.
Stir-fried squid with pickled vegetables. I love the salty sharp tart flavor.
Lotus root boiled in stock. They tend to be either crunchy or starchy (potato like), these were the starchy kind that my dad overwhelmingly prefers.
sea cucumber
Sea cucumber in oyster sauce. This year my mom went with dried sea cucumbers and soaked it for two weeks! I don’t know if was really necessary. Usually frozen ones have a strange alkaline taste that sometimes renders it inedible, but these were perfect. Sea cucumbers don’t really have a taste on their own, they just cook up soft and gelatinous (something Asians love).mbnoodlesffish
Mung bean noodles and fried fish (ignore the blurry pic). The long noodles bring longevity and the fish somehow represents things going smoothly (swimmingly?) for the New Year. You eat one fish before the New Year and one right after. The fried fish were rubbed with salt the day before cooking and are really tasty but wrought with dangers of countless tiny bones (for those untrained).
mixed seafood
Shrimp and squid stir-fried with sugar snap peas.
mushrooms fishcake
Shitake mushrooms with fish cake. Usually Chinese fish cakes are just made from one type of pureed fish. You can but the fish paste raw, and here it’s mixed with some chopped shrimp and water chestnuts.
pigs feet chicken
Only things left are the things I don’t eat, pig’s feet with moss (never liked the smelled of the moss) and steamed chicken (sorry again for the blurry pic). These are sort of obligatory, with the moss (faat choi) sounding like and symbolizing wealth/prosperity. And the chicken is there for every occasion. 
lina-sm.gif L

Entry filed under: cooking, food. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Leona  |  February 7, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    😀 Happy new year!

  • 2. Mindy  |  February 8, 2008 at 12:58 am

    How did you make the sauce for the sea cucumber dish? Did you use the oyster sauce straight up?

    And could you tell me how your mom steamed the fish with the microwave? Pouching with parchment paper? How do you know when it’s throughly cooked?

  • 3. Nats  |  February 8, 2008 at 3:59 am

    lina’s mommy is a PRO chinese cook o.o

  • 4. eatyet  |  February 8, 2008 at 4:41 am

    the oyster sauce was diluted with water (or probably stock), seasoned with a little soy sauce (to adjust the salt levels) and maybe some seame oil and some cornstarch to thicken.
    the mircowave steaming was done with the whole plate in a plastic grocery bag lossely tied, about 20mins depending on your microwave. you’ll have poke it to check for doneness, the flesh should be opaque thru the thickest part. if it’s not done, you’ll have pop it back into the microwave for a few more mins. I personally don’t think it’s the best idea to use plastics in the microwave but they do sell frozen veggies that steam in plastic bags so I guess it’s safe enough. parchment pouches sound much better.

  • 5. eatyet  |  February 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    CORRECTION on the fish steaming (perfected by my aunt), it’s gonna be dependent on the size of the fish, 5-10 mins (for small to medium carps) on a medium setting, you will have try it at least once to test how your microwave works to fine tune it. Then drain the fish liquids out of the plate, heat up some oil and cook scallions and soy sauce, pour over fish.


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