Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chinese New Year Feast

We were having big feasts over the weekend. Since the kids were at home all day, I was on my feet cooking to make more food for them.  Chinese New Year is a big event in the Asian countries.  Families would travel back to their homes to reunite with families to spend the most important day of the year together.  Thus New Year Eve's is what we call a reunion dinner (Tuan Nian Fan團年飯).  When I was a kid, we would have a very late dinner around ten o'clock at night and stay up past midnight. We loved to stay up late and play poker cards and watched TV with family.   I followed the tradition and gave my kids the red envelopes to put under their pillows before they went to bed.

Traditionally, all families would bring out and prepare the most expensive delicacies dishes like abalones, scallops, shark fins, bird nest soup, sea cucumbers.  The tremendous amount of food prepared at this time of the year was meant to symbolize the wealth and abundance for the household.  I made the traditional dishes every year at home. For Chinese New Year feast, a whole fish to represent togetherness and abundance,and  a chicken for prosperity and happiness are a must on the table.  The chicken must be served with a head, tail and feet to symbolize completeness.  The oysters, black moss seaweed and dried bean curd symbolize abundance and good fortune . The Vermicelli or noodle is for long life. There are always long lines in the Chinese food stores on the New Year's Eve  as people get their fresh roasted pork, chicken and other cooked dishes.  I also got the live Black Bass fish and shrimp from the supermarket.  These are the traditional dishes I served on New Year Eve: (I was not able to take picture on that day because I was too busy eating))

Chicken with ginger and scallion oil
Roasted pork
Steamed Black Bass in ginger and onion sauce
Dried Bean Curds with Black Moss Seaweed soup
Vegetarian Dish with Black Moss Seaweed and Vermicelli
Shrimp with Chili and Scallion sauce

On New Year's day, it's traditional to wear new clothes and shoes on this day. We eat what's left over from the dinner before. It usually starts with a vegetarian dish first.  After that we would wish our parents Happy New Year and good health before they give us red envelopes which are monetary gifts for good luck for the New Year.  Then we go to relatives' home with oranges, tangerines and gifts to wish them a happy new year.  I followed the same tradition and gave my kids the red envelopes for the New Year. These were the dishes I made on New Year Day; the delicacies were made with chicken stock that had abalone,dried scallop and other ingredients.

Lettuce Wrap with Vegetables

Grass Fish with sweet and red vinegar sauce:
Shark's Fins Delicacy Soup:
Braised Oysters with Shiitake Mushrooms:
Snow Ears with Dried Scallop soup:

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