Fireworks that we saw from my grandparents' house
Happy Chinese New Year! I went back to my home town in Batu Pahat, Malaysia last Sunday and returned on Tuesday night. We only go back once or twice a year, so it's good to see that all my relatives (especially my grandparents) are healthy and well. (:
Chinese New Year is all about reunion, and what's reunion without food? Every meal (except for breakfast) is practically a feast - we have 10 people, and we polished off 3 whole chickens, 1 whole duck, 1kg++ prawns, 1kg++ pork ribs, 1 huge slab of roasted pork, 3 huge pots of soups, 1 pomfret, 1 red snapper, countless plates of rice and many vegetables over the course of 5 meals (*looks at my waist line in denial*).
All the dishes we ate during Chinese New Year are whipped up by my grandmother, my aunt and my mom (see a pattern? heh) and they are so, so delicious. I'm glad I manage to "steal" some recipes back :p Hopefully I'll be able to try some of them and share the recipe up here. (:
A luxurious dish that we always prepare during Chinese New Year is definitely the cold dish of abalone slices. Abalone is an expensive treat so instead of cooking it (and losing the natural flavour of the abalone), we sliced it and drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce and served it with crunchy cabbage. It is an extremely easy dish to prepare and can be prepared well in advance (:
Before I share the recipe, I would like to thank these people for nominating me these awards (this is my first time receiving an award and I'm so thrilled!)
Versatile Blogger Award and Liebster Blog Award from I Really Take the Cake
Dear Stephanie, thank you so much for nominating me these two awards! I Really Take the Cake is a budding blog that features food, travel and photography. She is really talented - her blog is a bilingual blog and she has all her entries written in German too! And I'm so happy to know a friend who's from Vienna, Austria - I totally love that place! Do check out her lovely site (:
As part of the Versatile Blogger Award, I need to share 7 things about myself...
1) I am born Malaysian but I came over to Singapore to live and study since I was 2 years old.
2) My maternal grandparents are really awesome cooks. My grandfather owned a zhi char stall a very long time ago (zhi: 煮/cook; char: 炒/fry - zhi char means Chinese home-style dishes cooked to order). My grandfather was the head chef while my aunt was the sous chef. She was in-charged of taking orders from the customers and cutting up the vegetables and meat - thus her knife skills are really superb!
3) My maternal grandmother used to rear chickens for our own consumption - I did witness the process of killing the chickens (I wasn't traumatized by it, don't worry) and I used to help her pluck out the chicken feathers.
4) The first section that I will go to in a book store or a library is definitely the cookbooks section - I have quite a huge collection of cookbooks and my most recent was a gift from two dear friends - Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I'm really excited and I can't wait to try the recipes! Butter!
5) Whenever I go to a supermarket, I will keep a sharp look-out for groceries on discount - and I'll decide on what to cook / bake based on the food that's on discount (I cook/bake only on weekends due to my work commitment).
6) I love, love, love baking stores - I can browse the tins, pots, and pans for almost an hour and I often succumb to impulse purchases. Nowadays I try to steer clear of them because the cupboard containing all my baking tins and pans are bursting and I want to save up the money!
7) I love travelling - I just came back from a 42-day Europe trip. My next aim over the next few years is to travel to all the different Asian countries - Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia etc...
Reader Appreciation Awards from Bam's Kitchen
Dear Bobbi, thank you so much for your nomination! Bobbi is an amazing woman and her kitchen features many delicious and, to quote her, "unique international dishes that even teenagers will enjoy". I've already seen Western, Chinese, Korean and Thai food being featured on her delicious blog! I've adapted a recipe from her and it worked perfectly - definitely not a blog to be missed!
Now... to pass on the love! I'm pretty much a silent blogger - I read a lot of blogs but I usually don't comment on them. Lately, I try to leave comments more often, so giving out these awards are a real joy because the following blogs are a handful of my favourite blogs. I do hope they become your favourite too! (:
Versatile Blogger Award
"Versatile" means the ability to do many things competently (though I don't think I'm that versatile myself!) I'm not sure of the origin/true meaning of the awards, so I've re-defined the award and it's going to bloggers who blogged about different topics on their blogs or just simply bloggers whom you think are competent! If you're awarded, do share 7 things about yourself before passing the love on!
4) Min's Blog
Liebster is a German word, which means "sweetest", "kindest" and "dearest" award. It's given to upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers to encourage them to blog on! If you're awarded, do share 7 things about yourself before passing the love on!
1) Vegan Lenna
Reader Appreciation Award
Reader Appreciation Award is an award to thank your readers for their support and love! Give this award to those who have commented the most on your blog (: If you're awarded, do share 7 things about yourself before passing the love on!
I try not to duplicate recipients given for the awards, so others have a chance to award you again! I've also limited to 5 recipients for each award, because I know we all know a lot of common bloggers out there. (: And I think everyone liked to read about some things about you, so I've included the sharing of 7 things about oneself to all 3 awards.
It's definitely not a compulsory award - you can always just accept and admire it!
If you've been reading all the way till now... thank you! Here's the recipe!
Cold Abalone Slices with Sweet and Spicy Sauce (serves ~10)
recipe by my grandparents, no source
Serving size of this dish depends on how many abalone slices do you want to eat, normally we eat about 3 - 5 slices each, so adjust the recipe accordingly! Also, we didn't really measure the amount of sauce ingredients used, so the sauce ingredients is purely estimation. Adjust the amounts accordingly too!
¼ of a whole cabbage
2 cans abalone
½ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons plum sauce
3 key limes (the really small kinds)
Slice the cabbage very thinly. Place the sliced cabbage in the middle of a large serving plate.
Open the abalone cans. Wash the abalones and pat it dry with kitchen paper towels. (Reserve the juices and add it into soups or noodles for abalone soups or abalone noodles!) Slice the abalones thinly and arrange it around serving plate.
In a small bowl, combine the chili sauce, plum sauce and juices of the key limes. Taste and see if it needs more chili sauce, plum sauce or lime juice.
Drizzle the sauce all over the abalone slices. Refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 3 hours.
The brands of Thai chili sauce and plum (prune) sauce we used
I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012) hosted by Wen of Wen's Delight
Enjoy the rest of the Chinese New Year! Happy baking / cooking! (: