Showing posts with label 新年. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 新年. Show all posts

Monday, 11 February 2013

into the new year

water dragon, claire tracey, 2012 
dragon made of water bottles!
恭喜发财!新年快乐!etc etc

hope the nian was scared away and you got lots of oranges and noodles and good wishes and little sacks of gold (ie, dumplings). i had a dumpling party and failed to take any photos, except of me pulling faces with my decorations, but hayley brought tofu pancakes and catherine made saffron bread shaped like a snake, and everybody wore red and at 1am i called my mother whose reunion party (3 hours behind) was still going, and i had a lovely time.

dumplings are super easy to make, you should make them always

i hope your year is prosperous and golden

and full of noodles

Monday, 23 January 2012

vegan peking duck for cny

little bags of gold

Just home from an amazing dinner at Baihe for CNY. Mandarins for starters (and finishes, and prosperity), then noodles, potatoes, gailan, pipa chicken, and the most amazing duck and pancakes:

vegan duck for cny

Highly recommend, would eat again.

On the way home I passed so many fireworks and firecrackers and one lonely red lantern, drifting slowly into the sky and out of sight. My camera's no good for capturing these sorts of things, but I leave you with this, from the driveway to our apartment complex:

firecrackers in front of the apartment #2

恭喜发财!新年快乐!Reports of temple fair food tomorrow, after I've eaten it.

previous visit (includes Englishness, directions and accessibility details)

Baihe Vegetarian / Lily's Vegetarian / 百合素食
23 Caoyuan Hutong
off dongzhimen nei bei xiaojie
Dongcheng District


Monday, 1 March 2010

last day of chinese new year / out at enlightened cuisine

The foods we eat at Chinese New Year are important: there is a symbolism there, we don't just eat them for tradition, we eat them because of superstition. That's not to deny that custom is involved, because it is, but its primary function is symbolic in nature.

We eat fish(鱼), for prosperity, and abundance.
We eat chicken(鸡), for happiness.
We eat noodles to bring us a long life.
We give oranges as a symbol that we wish our friends to be wealthy.
We eat peanuts for long life.

cny noodles

We share these dishes, passing them back and cross the table, dipping in with our chopsticks, to indicate that we wish these things for one another, that we want to share these things with our loved ones.

This is part of the reason why the hardest part about my veganism for my mother was not veganising foods, but coming to terms with the fact that we could no longer share in this way during Chinese New Year. And this is why mock meats exist, you know, for exactly this reason.

courting the abundance

Yesterday was the last day of Chinese New Year, so Em and Jo joined us at Enlighted Cuisine for one last CNY noodle sharing. The table across from us had yee sang, and oh I considered it for half a second, but put it aside for next year - next year we'll go to EC for yee sang, and lo hei it all up.

We ordered the lemon chicken, and we ordered an assam fish (the fish was deliciousness, though could have done with more sauce). Of course (of course) we ordered noodles, Em and I would have it no other way. We ordered some gailan, which was beautifully gingery, and we loaded up with chillis, both fresh and otherwise, which were tangy and spicy (in the case of the sambal, very spicy).

I wanted yee mee, but we went for the mee goreng, which was gently flavoured with curry powder (my favourite way of serving mee goreng).

EC was full of people doing both 15th day of the month stuff, and last day of CNY stuff, and it was nice. Sad it was so cold!

two! two types of chilli!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

cny noms at white lotus

One of the critical elements of Chinese New Year is sharing food with friends, so we wandered over to White Lotus last week to try and share some food. Some of the things we shared:

(noodles not pictured, the photo was really bad and also the noodles were not that tasty, wth)

Claypot curry - claypot can be easy to mess up, and I've never had a claypot curry before, but this was delicious.


tamarind fishie (鱼) - at J's insistence, and it was really good, just tamarind-y enough.


roast duckie (鸭) - very important!

vegan roast duckie

There were other things, too. The lemon chicken was pretty good.

Danni and I only shared the below with each other, and it was totally delicious:

drum stick

oh yeah beancurd skin drumsticks, you're the best.

Overall: it was okay. Would probably go back again.

White Lotus
185 Victoria St
West Melbourne

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

pineapple tarts part three: the servening

In the end, these are the pineapple tarts I settled on for CNY. They are gluten-free, suitable for our gluten-free buddies. I think further tweaking is required - I want to try adding custard powder, and I'd love to try something using rice flour. But still, these turned out okay, and I love making and eating these kuih.

Some other people's (non-vegan) recipes: A Table for Two; Nyonya Food; The Little Teochew.

pineapple tarts in close up

gluten-free pineapple tarts

The GF flour means that these kuih go stale very quickly, so I have to make the pastry for these on the day I plan to serve them.

half a dozen cloves
500g pineapple chunks (I used a 430g can)
200g (ish) sugar
1 aniseed star
1 tablespoon gf flour (or something starchy)

2 heaped cups gluten-free flour
4 teaspoons icing sugar
3 teaspoons soy flour
1 tablespoon cornflour (make sure this is gf! some are, some are not)
2 shakes of salt
220g nuttelex/margarine (cold)
2 chinese soup spoons of applesauce

5g applesauce
1 tablespoon soy milk


For the jam: Press out as much liquid as possible from the pineapple, and then in a saucepan, simmer with sugar, cloves and star anise for between half an hour and fifty minutes, until the pineapple has reduced. Squish some of the pineapple pieces if necessary. Stir in the gf flour, and remove from heat. Leave this to cool for up to a few days (though it is ready to use after a few hours).

For the entartening: Beat together the margarine with the apple sauce. Make sure that you work the margarine from cold, don't melt it or anything. Slowly add the flours, icing sugar, and salt, until just combined. Put in fridge to rest whilst you prepare the jam.

jam ready to go

Roll the jam out into little tubes, approx 1.5cm in length. It is easiest if you prepare the jam in this way, so you just pick it up and drop it in the pastry.

When I'm working with the pastry, if it's warm I like to keep an icepack under the mixing bowl, to keep it a bit cooler in my warm kitchen.

Tear off a small amount of the batter, this will vary depending on how moist it has ended up - it needs to be not too moist, but not too dry or it will fall apart and crack too much. Flatten the batter in the palm of your hand, until it is even and looks like it will wrap around a jam dollop. Drop that jam in, and roll the pastry around it. Make sure there are no gaps, or the jam will leak out when baking. Continue until all the batter or jam is used up.

ready to roll

Using a fork, carefully score the surface of the tarts. Combine the remaining apple sauce and milk, and brush on the top.

Bake for 18 minutes at 175C in a preheated oven.


Monday, 15 February 2010

yee sang + cnye dinner


I am feeling the pressure, as many bloggers have already posted about CNY! Victor's post also includes some of the background to some of the CNY traditions.

This year, as we are far away from my family, instead of the usual family reunion dinner on new year's eve we had a vegan potluck. This was lots of fun, though we have certainly ascertained the upper limit to having people in our apartment (twenty and a baby)! And we had to do the dishes in order to enable dessert!

I made a kapitan, probably my best yet due to the fresh lime kaffir leaves I added, and the slight tweaks I made to the paste (a combination of chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, garlic and shallots). I also cooked up a quick choy sum and garlic in tamari sauce, because I figured that nobody would bring a vegetable dish (I was right!). ETA: oh! Tahn reminds me that she brought a veggie dish also. This is what happens when I don't take photos!

Because I was so busy finding bowls and making sure there was enough room on the table, I didn't have much of an opportunity to take photos. As a result, I will have to rely on others to post about the delicious food, and I will update this post as they do, so check back! There were some amazing dishes (almost all of them gluten free!). Danni did, however, manage to take photos of Em and Jo's yee sang, about which I want to talk.

yee sang pouring of the sauce

I was really excited when Jo said they'd be bringing yee sang! Yee sang is a SEA Malaysian/Singaporean CNY tradition to bring abundance. Making the yee sang is quite time consuming, though relatively uncomplicated (although be careful, Em managed to injure herself!), as there are lots of long, thin pieces of vegetables.

yee sang toss

Serving the yee sang is very straight forward, crack the dried stuff (in this instance, gluten-free papadums, but dried tofu skin or yao chao guai is more traditional), pour the sauce, and then toss. The higher you can toss, the more abundance you'll bring, so it can get very messy.

Yesterday, first day of CNY, because we hadn't had any noodles at the dinner, after going to the movies I cooked up a char kuay teow and some fried rice with the leftover rice from the night before.

Now we're all set for the new year! Sadly this means my hair is dirty, because of the no-washing rule (can't wash hair on the first day, and I didn't have a chance this morning). But other than that!

ETA: Vicki has posted about her gluten free sponge cake; Johanna has posted about pearl balls and apricot balls; Michael has posted about dumplings; Cindy blogged about orange and szechuan pepper icecream Toby posts about radish cakes.


Monday, 8 February 2010

vegan kuih in melbourne


love letters

Terrible news! I have been trying to locate vegan kuih kapit/love letters in Melbourne, but to no avail! They all contain egg! Miss T, who conveniently is currently in Perth, attempted to purchase them for me from my mother's Chinese grocer (in Perth), because my sister swore to me that they are selling vegan love letters, but alas! Fail!

My parents are coming to visit in just over a week, and obligingly they will bring me some, but I want them for CNYE! Does anybody know where I could find them? I've tried many grocers on Victoria Street in Richmond, Minh Phat, and the vegetarian grocery in Box Hill. I will probably adventure out to Footscray as soon as I get an opportunity. I am willing to travel! Mostly because I am not willing to make them.

Here are some other examples: folded (usually not vegan); rolled (sometimes vegan except apparently not for meeeee).

Any assistance that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated. Why is this city not more Malaysian? It pains me.


PS ALSO my macbook failed, and took all my unpublished recipes with it! So the pineapple tarts have returned to 'experimental' status.

Friday, 22 January 2010

pineapple tarts part two: de-glutening

Please see pineapple tarts part one: the jamening for previous adventures in pineapple tarts.

Last week's batch of pineapple tarts resulted in too much batter and insufficient jam quantities. Buoyed by my success of first time jam, I decided to go for a double batch of jam, using one large tin of crushed pineapple instead of one small tin of diced pineapple.

pineapple jam

This was a mistake! The jam started simmering away happily, then took one million trillion years to reduce, and then started burning to the base! The end result was a very strong pineapple jam, in the wrong colour, and of copious quantities! It was perfectly serviceable for experimenting, but I would probably not serve it to anyone!

The purpose of part two was to see if I could make this batch free from gluten.

pineapple tarts - batch 2

I would judge this as moderate success - the flavour of the pastry was a bit milder than I would ideally like it, and it didn't need as long in baking (the end result with the same baking time is a little stiff, clearly over cooked). The pastry goes stale after one day, but I was expecting that. Overall, however, I think I am foreseeing success in my gf pineapple tart future.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

pineapple tarts part one: the jamening

There's a bit of a reputation for Chinese people to not like sweet things. The evidence for this, I suppose, is in our savoury desserts and in our lack of chocolate (...valid points). This fits, I suppose, with the Nyonya kuih, sweets that are not sweet (and are, in fact, savouries), biscuits that are not really sugary. And they are delicious, my very favourite biscuits ever. More favourite than tim tams, before I went vegan!

I don't know how to describe my love of kuih, but I will try, in this way: I just found this clip on the SBS website, and it is a minute and a half of wordless kuih-making, and I spent the entire time filled with longing and delight and want (TO EAT IT ALL).

Often (but not always) made from glutinous rice flour, kuih range from cakes, to biscuits, to wafer thin pastries. And Chinese New Year is the jackpot, mountains of kuih, bright colours and biscuits that melt when you put them on your tongue. Kuih is often vegan, except sometimes you need to watch out for eggwash, or in some of the cakes actual eggs.

This CNY my kuih goal is pineapple tarts. Pineapple tarts come in three forms: closed, rolled open, and open. The first attempt at pineapple tarts began, oddly enough, not with picking a recipe (though that was part of it), but picking a style.

pineapple tarts

I baked all three, and have picked closed. Styled with patience and accuracy, they look like tiny pineapples, and the way the pastry crumbles through your whole mouth is awesome.

However before baking, I first made pineapple jam! You may remember my recent requests that people make jam and then give it to me, because I am not a jam maker. I spent some time searching the shops nearby for pineapple jam, and though I found quince, rosehip, fig, apricot, raspberry, tropical, strawberry and ginger marmalade jams, I was quite unable to locate pineapple jam. So I bought a can of pineapple instead, and made pineapple jam! It was great! Super easy, and it made for jam of perfect consistency to put inside the dough.

And so it was, two firsts in one day, labouriously playing with pineapples. The thing is, I don't even like pineapples - but I love pineapple kuih!

The recipe is not quite finalised, so more to come - I have high hopes that I can make this gluten free (pineapple tarts are one of the few kuih that are not made with rice flour). And expect more CNY posts as we get closer, and I try out more things.

Monday, 14 September 2009

CNY mushrooms and noodles (chap chye)

And now some food!

The theme for yesterday's potluck was 'new,' to go with Miss T's newly renovated house. There was lots of awesome food, including delicious sausage rolls, rice paper rolls, a savoury watermelon salad, an array of dips, and other delicious savoury goodies. There was a whole table of sweet goodies as well, my personal favourite was the homemade chocolate icecream, but there was also gingerbread, chocolate balls, lots of cookies, and a fantastic apple risotto thing. It was fantastic! I'm so enthused by our first proper vegan potluck experience that I totally want to hold one soon at House of Penguin!

I was concerned that if I took the 'new' theme to mean new dish, or new ingredient, there might be some sort of unexpected culinary failure and then we'd have to turn up with no dish to share and I'd be all embarrassed, so we went an alternative route and took the new theme as '新年,' or Chinese New Year.

I can't remember what this dish is actually called, so perhaps my sister will read this and remind me - it's something my mum cooks for CNY, and it's delicious. It's also a bit modified - it should have three types of mushrooms, but I only had two, so I went with what I had. ETA: hooray for J! It's chap chye.

mushroom and noodles

CNY mushrooms and noodles

The secret to this is not to soak the noodles for too long - I always do and it messes with the consistency of the dish, but it's still delicious!

1 pack bean/cellophane noodles
lots of dried chinese mushrooms
lots of dried black fungus
small piece of fresh ginger, minced or chopped small
one clove of garlic, minced or chopped small
half a cup of stock
half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 tbl of dark soy sauce

Soak the mushrooms in hot water for at least an hour, preferably two. Top up with more hot water if they expand so much they're no longer covered.

Soak the bean noodles until soft, then drain.

In a hot wok, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Throw in the ginger and garlic, toss through, then drain the mushrooms and throw them in. Toss a few times, then pour in the stock and the chilli flakes. Toss through, then cover and leave to sit for about five minutes. Lift the lid and add the noodles, as well as the soy sauce. Mix through, so that the noodles are all consistently coloured. Put the lid on and leave to simmer until it has soaked up the rest of the stock and sauce - this is a dry dish, it shouldn't drip at all whilst serving.

It's for longevity, you know.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Yee Sang at Lotus

In further CNY news, went to Lotus last night where we finally had Yee Sang, it being our last opportunity for this CNY. Yee Sang has a funny taste when you're eating but the most delicious aftertaste, and it's crunchy and delicious. And tossing it is pretty fun.

yee sang at lotus

Yee Sang is made on the table, a large plate of shredded vegetables (and, traditionally, shredded fish) in the centre as a variety of sauces and condiments are poured over the top. Everyone then uses their chopsticks (the use of chopsticks is non-optional, no hands, no forks) to toss the salad together. It is customary to toss as high as possible, because the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes will be, as you court abundance.

chicken satay at lotus

Following the yee sang we had some char kuay teow (hardly a CNY noodle) and an array of delicious mock meats, cha siew and kapitan and the Sichuan chicken, which had cashews and was quite tasty. D's new favourite appears to be the chicken satay entree, which we discovered last Saturday when we tried the small banquet, and D insisted on ordering again just four days later.

Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
Unit 1, 220 James St

Monday, 26 January 2009

chinese new year - reunion dinner

Dressed in our super ang-y best, last night we went to my parents' house for reunion dinner, as is customary on Chinese New Year's Eve.

The foods we eat for Chinese New Year have meanings beyond it's traditional; we eat noodles for longevity, and fish, as always, for abundance. The meal is loud and messy, and the table is always crowded with old friends.

reunion dinner: crispy chicken

Unlike with Christmas, my problem since going vego has not been "what do I eat?;" rather it has been the removal of the ability to share everything, every person taking a little from each dish, yelling across the table and throwing the scraps beside one's bowl.

This year my sister and I pushed together several tables to make the biggest table ever; my mum cooked a dozen dishes, half of them vegan and half of them not; and this was an awesome way to do it, being able to share with everyone so many dishes, and finally I felt like it was a proper CNY reunion dinner.

reunion dinner: mushrooms and gailan

There were noodles, and claypot vegies, and mock fish and crispy chicken and some mushrooms with gailan, and fresh mango and grapes and it was the best.

I am not a giant fan of mock meat, but it is for things such as this that it was invented, for these traditional banquets where the way you say it means everything, and I am just glad that they were incidentally tasty, and in the end there was no mock meat left because everyone had eaten it all.

The photos didn't work out fantastic, I was busy cooking and D was busy with jetlag, but you get the idea.

reunion dinner: fish = plenty

恭喜发财, happy new year and also happy Australia/invasion day.