The Christmas and New Year festivities have just been over not long ago and now it’s time to welcome the Rooster Year in less than a month’s time. I’m sure it’s a busy period for many of us as there are lots of to-dos before the Chinese New Year comes and that will of course include spring cleaning as well as planning the menu for the Reunion Dinner.
Besides whipping up a table of dishes for the family, there’s always the classic steamboat to fall back on if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy in the kitchen though I think the latter is still quite fun and satisfying as it only happens once a year. For a comprehensive list of steamboat ingredients, check out Ingredients for Steamboat, Easy Soup Bases and the Best Dipping Sauces.
Last but not least, how can we miss out on a lo hei? It’s like one of my favourite things to do and eat during CNY. Instead of buying yu sheng from outside which is typically over-priced during the festive period, I suggest to make it at home which is actually not difficult at all. Plus you can customise it with whatever vegetables, fruits or toppings that you and your family will enjoy. Check out my Smoked Salmon Yu Sheng Recipe.
Like previous years, I shall share some of my best recipes in 2016 which will make suitable dishes for CNY. If you need more choices besides the dishes on this list, check out my previous blog posts as follows –
Here goes the list…
1. Enoki Mushroom Fritters
Enoki mushrooms can be a little chewy when cooked normally in stir fries or in hot pots but when they are deep-fried, they actually taste like crackers – very light, crispy and crunchy – which you can dip into chilli sauce to enjoy. A great way to dress up your vegetable dish.
2. Kung Pao Lotus Root
Kung Pao dishes need no further introduction. They are the all-time favourites of many at Chinese takeaways and restaurants. The crunch of the vegetables and cashew nuts really stands out and as usual, the sauce is spicy, savoury and sour which is just appetising.
3. Oriental Chicken Salad
This is the chicken version of the yu sheng. Perfect for those who don’t like raw fish. It is sweet and sour with just a light hint of spice from the chilli sauce that’s balanced out by the various sweet-tasting fruits.
4. Ma La Xiang Guo
Love spicy food? This Ma La Xiang Guo will definitely impress your family and friends if you all are ma la fans. It’s not too complicated to make even though you do need a substantial amount of ingredients but it’s really gratifying to eat this.
Get the recipe: http://www.springtomorrow.com/2016/09/26/ma-la-xiang-guo-recipe/
5. Korean Army Stew | Budae Jjigae
This homemade Budae Jjigae is like the Korean version of a steamboat that’s filled with all kinds of ingredients in a spicy gochujang-flavoured broth. Everything in this pot is substitutable so go ahead and add in whatever you like to spruce it up.
Get the recipe: http://www.springtomorrow.com/2016/08/01/budae-jjigae-recipe/
6. Crabstick, Prawn & Egg Tofu
Inspired by the Hot Plate Egg Tofu dish that you can get from most tze char stalls in Singapore. This version is made with crabsticks, prawns and a savoury gravy that’s best paired with steamed rice.
7. Teochew Steamed Fish
This is one dish that epitomises traditional Teochew cooking. Not heavy-handed with seasonings so you can taste the natural sweetness and freshness of the fish. Try steaming a whole pomfret for CNY.
8. Claypot Tofu
If you love the idea of enjoying a wide assortment of ingredients in one single pot, try this dish that comes with fresh, crunchy prawns, delicious roast pork belly and soft, fluffy yam with a savoury sauce.
Get the recipe: http://www.springtomorrow.com/2016/08/24/claypot-tofu-recipe/
9. Crispy Calamari
Tossed in seasoned flour and deep-fried till golden brown and crispy. Flavoured with salt, pepper and 5-spice powder and served with a delicious gochujang mayonnaise dipping sauce. Definitely a hit with both the young and old.
10. Stir Fried Rice Cakes
Who says you can’t use fresh Korean rice cakes in Chinese dishes? There’s no need to add any corn starch solution because the rice cakes would just automatically thicken up the sauce. Savoury flavours with a chewy bite – this is absolutely scrumptious.
11. Dak Galbi | Chuncheon Chicken
This is a spicy Korean stir-fried chicken dish with an assortment of vegetables and rice cakes, perfect for communal sharing. If you have leftovers, mix in some rice & kimchi and you’ll get an instant kimchi fried rice. Single pot, double yum.
Get the recipe: http://www.springtomorrow.com/2016/06/29/dak-galbi-recipe/
12. Smoked Salmon Rice Paper Rolls
A creative take on the regular Vietnamese rice paper rolls. These rolls are filled with smoked salmon, kiwi and dragonfruit and served with a piquant hoisin-peanut dipping sauce. Sweet, crunchy, fruity and savoury – absolutely scrumptious.
13. Lung Nourishing White Fungus Soup
This white fungus soup with pork ribs has a freshly light and sweet flavour. It has 清热 (removing heatiness) properties which is absolutely necessary when we are faced with this sweltering heat in Singapore.
14. Pineapple Chicken
Another great way to eat more fruits and get those vitamins back into your diet if you aren’t getting enough. The pineapples (旺来!) are fresh, healthy and naturally sweet so there isn’t a need to add any sugar to balance up the flavours.
15. Sweet & Sour Salmon
This is the fish version of a 咕噜肉 (‘gu lou yok’ or Cantonese-style sweet & sour pork) which is much healthier (with lots of omega-3 fatty acids too) than its deep-fried fatty pork counterpart and it tastes just as good.
16. Pork Chops with Tomato Sauce
A classic home-cooked dish that’s inspired by the Hainanese Chicken Chop that originated since the British Colonial period. Just like Grandma’s cooking – so comforting and yum.
17. Fried Assam Prawns
A classic Peranakan dish that’s savoury with a tangy hint. The key is to get a bit of char on the prawns which really intensifies the fragrance of the dish.
18. Pork Collar with Crispy Garlic Sauce
This dish is suitable for those who don’t like the spicy and pungent flavour of raw garlic. After the garlic has been fried in oil, its flavour becomes milder and sweeter. Also, it kinda resembles crushed potato chips and really adds crunch to the dish.
19. Red Bean Porridge
Red beans impart a hearty sweetness to rice porridge which is a great way to give the usual boring porridge a makeover. It’s a simple yet comforting meal, perfect when you just want something warm and light to go with heavy-handed dishes.
20. Snow Fungus Soup
This is almost like a ‘Cheng Tng’ (清汤) (with an extra twist of sweet apricot kernels & goji berries) packed with so much goodness from the various elements that benefit our health in some way or another. Makes a great ‘Tong Sui’ (糖水) for the whole family.
I hope these recipes come in handy for your planning. They are fairly easy to make and are also healthier in general as I always cook with less oil, less salt and less sugar.
If you need further cooking tips or ideas for CNY, leave me a comment below ⬇︎.
Here’s wishing everyone good health and good luck in the new Rooster Year!
身体健康 万事如意! 🙂