Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast

Whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or not, I still wish you all a Happy New Year ("新年快樂") and a prosperous Year of the Snake ("恭喜發財")! Unless you live under a rock (or somehow snowmageddon got you real good), you should all know by now that many of us (a.k.a Chinese peeps) all around the world bid adieu the Year of the Dragon and welcomed the Year of the Snake yesterday.

Chinese astrology considers the Water Snake to be powerful and says those born in the Year of the Snake are considered intuitive, introspective and refined, but can also be manipulative, scheming or even proud. Financially, the year is predicted to be good for Snake people but they are expected to face medical problems. Some other details of 2013 Year of the Snake:

1. Ideal compatibility with: Ox and Rooster.
2. More or less compatible with: Rat, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep.
3. Absolutely incompatible with: Tiger and Pig.
4. Lucky colors for the Snake: Yellow, Red
5. Lucky directions for the Snake: Southwest, Northeast
6. Lucky numbers for the Snake: 2, 4, 7, and 9.
7. Monday is the lucky day of the week for Snakes.

 *By the way, you know you love food when you keep on typing "snack" instead of "snake"*

My family is not superstitious at all. We would never go out of our way to not clean (it is considered unlucky to clean on New Year's Day but I'm pretty sure my Dad vacuumed the house yesterday), nor will we purposely not wash our hair (I have to wash my hair every day or I feel gross). As well, for good luck, people should only wear new clothes, and those new clothes cannot be black or white as those colours symbolize bad luck and death (I actually made an effort and wore a traditional red top but it was not new and I wore it with black pants *MEGA FAIL*) Anyway, my point is, we don't follow traditions to the T but what we WILL do every year is feast on a very, very delicious meal prepared by my Mom :) Check out my posts on them --> 2011 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast and 2012 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast.

Some Instagram pictures I took yesterday:
Top left: Store bought Chinese New Year snack box with candies, crackers, taro fritters, and crunchy fried dumplings ("甜角仔") filled with dried coconut and sugar.
Top right: Me making an effort with the red top (plus red lips! :D)
Bottom left: Several red envelopes ("利事") I got from my parents and my brother (red envelopes with money inside are passed out from married couples / elderly to unmarried people)
Bottom right: Pan frying home-made pudding on New Year's Day.

This year, aside from making her usual New Year's Eve dinner, my Mom decided to make all the New Year puddings herself (she usually makes the water chestnut pudding only and buys the others). Seriously, this was the best decision EVER! In contrast to the store bought turnip pudding (which consists of mostly flour) my Mom's turnip pudding had tons of turnips, dried shrimps, Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon. Her Chinese New Year cake was also excellent; the store-bought ones are usually insanely sweet, very "artificial" tasting, but my Mom's tasted just right. It also had a very smooth texture.

Chinese New Year cake or Nian Gao "年糕"

Turnip cake "蘿蔔糕"

Water chestnut cake ("馬蹄糕")

Sliced into thick pieces and coated with whisked egg, the cakes were pan fried.

We ate these tasty cakes for lunch on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day! 

Moving on from lunch to our New Year's Eve dinner...

All the dishes below were made by my very talented Mom:

Stir fried bok choy

Braised pig's trotters

Sweet and sour pork

Stewed winter melon with dried scallops

Stewed Chinese black mushrooms with black moss


Fried shrimp with salt and pepper 

Medley of mushrooms

Roasted pork belly

Our Chinese New Year's Eve feast looked like this :)

Ended dinner with glutinous rice dumplings with red bean filling in rice wine soup.

My stomach is growling right now as I'm typing this and I'm not even joking. I cannot say this enough: My Mom is the best! Love you!