Hi everyone! As most of you probably know, Chinese New Year was this week and I wanted to share with you what my family and I got up to. My aunt is from Malaysia and she always puts on an incredible feast for everyone. It’s a really lovely celebration and fun to experience another culture which is very different to anything in Britain.
There is a twelve-year cycle for the Chinese Zodiac, and each year is represented with an animal. 2015 is the Year of the Sheep/Goat (there is no distinction in the Chinese language) and people born in the year of the goat are meant to be kind, gentle and clever. (Incidentally, I was born in 1993, the year of the Rooster, which means my personality strengths are brightness, a warm-heart, ambition and honesty, while my weaknesses are being too outspoken and quick to temper. This is weirdly quite true!)
As we all waited with excitement for the feast to come, we made do with an enormous box of home made prawn crackers and a large bottle of prosecco. My 7 year-old cousin Edie even provided us with some entertainment in the form of magic tricks.
The table was looking beautiful, dressed in the traditional colour of red which symbolises joy and good fortune. I couldn’t wait to tuck in!
First up, the fortune cookies! My message was that, “I have a deep passion for all that is artistic”. Well, it is true I suppose!
On to some extremely tasty starters including chicken satay, vegetable spring roles and filo-wrapped prawns, all served with a delicious sweet chilli sauce. I can never believe that my aunt makes these all from scratch. They just look so perfect!
The cat wanted to join in with the meal, and looked very upset when we didn’t share any. Though cats are meant to be symbols of good luck in Chinese culture!
Next up, my favourite part of the meal! Crispy shredded duck with pancakes. Nothing can beat the taste of warm, succulent duck paired with zingy, refreshing cucumber and spring onions, all married together by tasty hoisin sauce and wrapped in a light pancake. This is definitely one of my favourite meals of all time.
Now, on to the grand finale: the main dishes. Yesterday, there were three choices all served with bowls of white, fluffy rice. First, stir-fried vegetables in oyster sauce and second, char-sui pork belly (my mum’s absolute favourite!)
Just look at that pork belly! It literally melts in your mouth.
The third and final main dish was a piece of delicious, flaky cod fish in a ginger and spring onion sauce. This was probably my favourite dish, it was just so fresh and light, but with a good punch to it. I’m told it’s actually very easy to make; just soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, spring onions and seasoning. Add a few chillies if you like it hotter and maybe some lime for an extra kick.
With our stomachs completely full to brim, it was time to get down to the New Year gifts! It’s tradition that on Chinese New Year any of those still unmarried receive red envelopes from the older generation. These envelopes may contain a few coins or hundreds of pounds!
I was pretty happy with my haul! I’m now going to be attempting all of these dishes in my own kitchen, but I doubt they will be up to Meelan’s standard.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 is a fun and prosperous year for you all.
Thanks for reading,