Monday, February 11, 2008

The Mom Series: New Year's Dinner

I had to write a special post for the Hainan chicken and rice, but that wasn't all we had for New Year's. Here's the rest of them. We start with the celebratory sun neen fan or New Year's Meal. I honestly don't know much about this, but it has a bunch of things that are considered delicious, lucky, or both. Mom starts by braising pork hocks and tongue until the meat is fork-tender.

In a wok, she cooks up a mixture of shittake mushrooms, dried oysters, snow fungus, and fat choi. I do love snow fungus and fat choi.

The braised hocks and tongue are placed in a platter, then the above mixture is poured over it.

Next was the steamed tilapia. Yu, or fish, has the same sound as the word for "luck". Mom's mise en place:

The fish is topped with fresh scallions, cilantro, and seared ginger. The sauce is a simple soy sauce mixture. 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part water, a small amount of sesame oil (one to two squirts from the bottle), and freshly ground pepper. Heat the mixture until it boils, then pour around the freshly steamed whole fish.

Mom makes a beautiful fried glutinous rice. It's rich with soy sauce, duck sausage, pork sausage, dried shrimp, scallions, and cilantro.

I can't even begin to imagine how to make this. I believe the rice is steamed, then stir-fried with the other ingredients. Somehow, she keeps the texture perfect. The grains of rice are sticky, but firm. It's not gooey or chewy. I'd probably make a sloppy mess if I tried making this dish.

It reheats really well and I know this because I'm eating the leftovers as I write.

Mom, knowing D. doesn't like seafood, moss, or fungus, made lemongrass pork chops for him. Marinaded with soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, and sugar, the chops are fried in a little bit of oil.

Lastly, we had soup. Beef broth made that morning with beef bones with the addition of lotus root slices and chestnuts.

It's light, but very flavorful. The lotus root gives the soup a hint of sweetness. It's typical of brothy Chinese soups.

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