Fortune Squid Blossom Chinese New Year Dish

lucky flower blossom squid

As you can probably tell from a lot of my posts I really love seafood and today I wanted to make a squid dish. I named this dish “Fortune Squid Blossom” because a flower blossom is regarded as a lucky thing in Chinese culture. Flowers in full bloom symbolize affluence and nobility.

As my previous post talked about there are no strict rules for Chinese new year dishes as long as they are pretty, well presented, taste good but most importantly have a lucky meaning. If a dish has all of these, then you have a great dish for your Chinese new year dinner.

I used part of a body of a squid for making the squid flowers and used the rest of the squid for making the fillings in the middle. I used an egg white when I made the filling but I kept the egg yolk for the steamed egg base. One medium sized squid can make around two squid flowers. Blance the squid flower in boiling for around 5 seconds only and definitely don’t over cook or the squid will turn really chewy.

It is important to not waste any food or ingredients. I always remember the first day I started leaning cooking at college and the teacher always taught us “Don’t waste any food or ingredients!!!”.

Here is my recipe for this Chinese New Year dish called “Fortune Squid Blossom”. I hope you will enjoy it.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

lucky flower blossom squid procedure

 

Fortune Squid Blossom Chinese New Year Dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for squid flower

  • 1 medium whole squid
  • 200 g prawns
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 carrot for garnish
  • 1 spring onion for garnish

Seasoning for filling

  • 1/2 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp potato starch

Ingredients for Steamed Egg

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp potato starch water 1/2 tsp potato starch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Cut the squid into a flower shape as the photos show. Blanch in boiling salted water for no more than 5 seconds. Soak in cold water afterwards to cool it down.
  2. Process rest of the squid and prawn with all the seasonings.
  3. Rub some potato starch on the squid flower and put some of the processed squid and prawns from step 2 in the middle.
  4. Steamed it at full gas power for 8 minutes.
  5. Mix all the steamed egg ingredients evenly and pour into a soup plate, steamed for 3~5 minutes.
  6. Place the steamed squid flower on top of step 5. Boil 1 cup of stock with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and stir in 1 tablespoon potato starch and water to thick the sauce. Pour the sauce on top of squid flower and steamed egg. It’s now ready to serve.

 

Eight Treasure Rice Pudding Chinese new year dish

eight treasure rice pudding

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding is a traditional Chinese new year pudding. Eight treasures topping is made up with eight different kind of dried fruits, raisin and sweets. You can choose any ingredients which are easy for you to buy. Of course, you don’t have to use “eight” different toppings but the number of toppings you use is really down to personal preference.

I used five different kinds of toppings today because I only a small rice pudding for Chris and I. If I were to use eight different kinds of toppings for a rice pudding this size it would look a bit of a mess

The number eight is a magic number for Chinese people. In Chinese the number eight sounds like another Chinese word “”. in Chinese means rich and I believe everybody likes being rich.  So, eight is a lucky number. Also, this dessert is really colourful and pretty so Chinese people love to have this dessert in Chinese New Year.

China has so many different provinces and different provinces also have different traditions. Whether you go to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or even Malaysia, although we all celebrate Chinese New Year the customs are different. Sometimes it’s really hard to say which Chinese dish is a typical Chinese New Year dish but I always say as long as the dish is petty, colourful and has a lucky or pretty name then it’s a good Chinese New Year dish.

Here is recipe for this eight treasures rice pudding. I wish all of you have a great Chinese new year and I hope you will give my recipe a go and make eight treasures rice pudding for your friends and family. Trust me, they’ll love it.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Eight Treasure Rice Pudding Chinese new year dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 handful sugar glazed cherries
  • 1 handful black raisins
  • 1 handful yellow raisins
  • 1 handful sugar lotus seeds available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 1 dried apricot
  • 2 cups round glutinous rice
  • 100 g red bean paste available in Chinese supermarkets

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for sugar syrup

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp potato starch water (1/2 tsp potato starch with 1 tbsp water, mix evenly)
  • 2 drops rose or any kind of flower essence **

Instructions

  1. Soak round glutinous rice in cold water for 1 hour at least. Cook it in a rice cooker or steamer. Mix the cooked rice with sunflower oil and salt when it’s still hot.
  2. Brush some oil on a medium size bowl and cut the sugar glazed cherry in half. Place the dried fruits and sugar glazed cherries as shown in the photos.
  3. Put half of the cooked glutinous rice in the bowl and press down a little bit then put 100g red bean paste in the middle.
  4. Use a little bit of glutinous rice to cover the red bean paste and place the sugar lotus seeds and sugar glazed cherries around the bowl.
  5. Put all of the glutinous rice in the bowl and press down. Steam for 30 minutes.
  6. Use a small pot to boil all the ingredients for the sugar syrup. Stir in potato starch water to thicken the syrup.
  7. Flip the rice pudding on a plate and brush sugar syrup on top. Ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

** In some traditional eight treasures rice pudding recipes, it says use “sweet-scented osmanthus sauce” but it’s very difficult to get in UK so I use rose essence to replace it.

 

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu

Chili bean paste fish and tofu is the name of this Chinese fish dish.  This dish is also my first recipe for this Chinese new year. A lot of people probably don’t know when Chinese New Year is this year but it’s actually the 2nd of February. People from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan will usually celebrate from this day and celebrations will go on for about a week. In

In Chinese language we call Chinese new year eve “除夕” (Chu xi). All of our families will gather together, wear new shoes and wear new clothes. We usually wear red and then we’ll have a large new year dinner together. We call this new year dinner “年夜飯” (Nian ye fan).

Fish is one of the dishes that we must have for new year dinner. Fish in Chinese is called “yu” and it sounds similar to the word “” which means “more than enough, spare”. We usually call the fish dish in New year supper “Nian nian you yu 年年有餘”, The whole phrase means “every year have some good things happen and/or money left. Or every year have more than enough money or luck”.

Different families have different traditions for this fish dish for New Year dinner. In my family, we can’t finish this fish in one go. We must leave some fish on the plate, we can’t eat all of it. This is because we believe leaving some fish will bring us luck and money, which also means more than enough money or luck. My grandfather told me, in his navy friend’s home, they can’t turn over the fish because the method for turning over fish looks like a ship or boat capsizing, which of course no-one and especially a navy officer doesn’t want to see.

There is no strict rule of how to cook “Nian Nian you yu” (this dish) for Chinese New Year. You can use any kind of fish you want so long as it’s a whole fish that includes it’s head and tail. I know you’re probably wondering why it has to be a whole fish but using a whole fish represents you doing everything from start to finish and not just doing something halfway.

For this dish I decided to cook Dou Ban Yu. Dou Ban Yu is a really tasty Sichuan style fish dish that can be as spicy as you like but has a really strong taste typical of Sichuan cooking. The most important thing is the red colour from the chilli bean paste (sauce). As mentioned before red is a very good colour for Chinese New Year.

The English translation for Dou Ban Yu is “Chili Bean Paste Fish” and here is my recipe for this dish. I hope you enjoyed reading about this dish and maybe you could give it a go this Chinese New Year.

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu

 

Chili Bean Paste Fish and Tofu Chinese new year dish

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fish I used sea bass
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 3 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 chili remove seeds and chop finely
  • 50 g beef or pork mince
  • 350 g tofu cut into the size as the photo shows, pan fry both sides

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean paste sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 ltr boiled water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Remove all the dirty bits of fish as procedures photo. This procedure ensures the fish tastes better and removes any unpleasant fishy taste.
  2. A teaspoon or similar can help to get rid of the bits you don't want
  3. Cut the fish as the photo shows and use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts and inside the fish belly. Leave it aside for 15 minutes after you have done that.
  4. Use your finger to rub some chilli bean paste into those cuts
  5. Use your finger to rub some of chili bean paste inside of fish belly.
  6. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and panfry both sides of the fish. Leave each side to fry for 2~3 minutes at least, don’t keep turning the fish or you will just make a mess of the fish. Place the fish on a plate after both sides are a golden brown colour.
  7. Cut the tofu into the size as this photo shows
  8. Pan fry the tofu on both sides
  9. Using the wok from step 3, stir-fry the chilli bean paste first for a couple minutes then add the mince to fry it for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add rice wine, chilli, ginger, garlic and just half of a spring onion into the wok and stir-fry it until all the fragrance comes out from the wok.
  11. Put the fish back in the wok and add the boiled water or stock to cook.
  12. Add tofu and simmer it to reduce down the sauce.

 

Sixi Scallop authentic Chinese seafood dish

sixi scallop recipe

Happy New Year everyone! Sixi scallops is my first post of 2011. I decided to make a quick, tasty and healthy dish for the first day of the year. Sixi in Chinese means “four happiness” or “four lucky, joy”, which also means a lot of happiness. So, I wish this dish can bring you a lot of luck and joy in 2011.

Recently as well as working none stop in my normal job as usual I’ve been preparing speeches for a Chinese New Year festival in Glasgow which is coming up in February and March. I think this dish is one of the healthiest dishes within Chinese cuisine. A lot of authentic dishes are actually really healthy and absolutely nothing like dishes one buys in the UK. Authentic Chinese dishes contain less meat and a lot more vegetable or soy bean products which are really good for our health.

So, here is the recipe for this Sixi Scallops. I wish all of you have a happy and healthy year and remember to keep visiting my blog during 2011.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Sixi Scallop authentic Chinese seafood dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g scallops
  • 1 medium carrot washed and peeled. Cut into slightly thick slices
  • 1 red pepper cut into 2cm diamond shapes
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into 2cm diamond shapes
  • 200 g mange tout
  • 1 clove garlic chop finely
  • 1 slice ginger chop finely
  • 1/2 chili cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup stock

Seasonings

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp potato starch 1 tbsp potato or corn flour starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water, mixed evenly

Marinade for scallops

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp rice wine

Instructions

  1. Marinade scallops with rice wine and a couple pinches salt and pepper powder.
  2. Wash and peel the carrot and mange tout. Cut the carrot into thick slices
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry yellow and red pepper first for 2 minutes.
  4. Add carrot and keep stir-frying for another minute or two.
  5. Add mange tout, garlic ,chilli and ginger. Stir-fry everything for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add scallop, stock and cover the lid and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in potato starch and water and bring it to boil again. It’s now ready to serve.

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

fish fragrant tofu

I’ve mentioned so many benefits of tofu in my previous blog post and here is another tofu recipe that I want to share with you today.

“Fish fragrant tofu” (魚香豆腐) is one of many famous dishes from Sichuan cuisine. It has “fish” in the name of it but without fish in this dish. It’s called “fish fragrant” because the ingredients for this dish are usually used when cooking fish but people use it for cook tofu, eggplant and other dishes.

There is a story about this fish fragrant dish. A long time ago in Sichuan, there was a family who were really serious when It came to cooking fish. They will use ginger, spring onion, garlic, mince, chilli bean sauce and other ingredients to cook with fish. One day, the lady of this family didn’t want to waste the ingredients so she used the ingredients to cook another dish. She was however realy nervous that it wouldn’t taste nice and her husband wouldn’t like it.

Her husband came home while she was thinking about what she should explain to her husband later about this dish. Her husband was so hungry from work he didn’t wait for dinner to start and literally just took a few bites of this dish. He asked his wife: ”Oh, this dish is the most tasty dish that I ever had in my life, how did you do it?” She told him how she cooked it and they gave the name of this dish “fish fragrant fry (魚香炒)”. This is how “fish fragrant” this name came from.

People who are vegetarian can also cook this dish but just without using any mince. You can adjust the amount of chilli and chilli bean sauce if you prefer your food more or less spicy.

As people who follow my Facebook page will know, I recently bought a pink knife bag. I really like anything that’s pink and when I saw this bag online I just had to buy it! Here are some of photos of my new pink knife bag.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

pink knife bag
pink knife bag
pink knife bag

Don’t you think this is the cutest knife bag ever!

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes tofu around 692g, I bought it from a regular supermarket
  • 1 spring onion chop finely. I used half for the sauce and the other half for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 slices ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili chop finely
  • 100 g beef or pork mince I used beef mince in this dish

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately
  • 1 cup water

Marinade for mince

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches white pepper powder approximately

Instructions

  1. Marinade mince with sugar, soy sauce, salt and white pepper powder for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the packaging from the tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm thick pieces.
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for 30 seconds.
  4. Add mince into the wok and keep stir-frying it until the mince is cooked.
  5. Add chilli bean sauce to stir-fry it for 30 seconds. Add rest of the seasonings into wok and bring it to boil.
  6. Add tofu into wok and gently push them into seasonings and turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer it for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the tofu onto a plate and pour some sauce on top. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped spring onion on top and it’s ready to serve.

 

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir-fry pickled bamboo shoot with chilli beef mince is one of my favourite dishes that my grandma cooks. Every time I go back to Taiwan I always ask grandma cook this dish for me which she does and I really love.

Grandma is a very traditional Chinese and Taiwanese mother and grandma. Kitchen is her stage and she is the queen of kitchen. She will kick you out if you try to cook in her kitchen and her happiness comes from her children or grand children’s compliments about her food. So, I especially taught my husband to say: “I love you grandma, your food is delicious” when we went back to Taiwan.

She is original from Guangdong (Canton), China. So all the dishes she has cooked for her family are always influenced by Cantonese cuisine. She and my grandfather are two of the best chefs in my heart. She is also my role model for my old and retired life. She is always full of energy, enthusiasm and has a real passion for life. She’s been through a lot of really bad moments in her life but she always stays such a strong, happy person and rarely complains about her life. She is also the busiest old retired lady I’ve ever met in my life. She learnt (patchy) English, how to swim, play the erhu fiddle, ballroom dance, join the chorus, become a member of women’s Federation meeting and much much and more. She also has so many friends who always invite her shopping and have tea together. Even she is that busy she still manages to look after us. Whenever we come home she always prepares the tastiest dinner imaginable. I wish when I get old I can be just like her.

I was so excited to see they sell this pickled bamboo shoot in my local Chinese supermarket. I even called grandma on Skype to show her it. I know how to cook bamboo shoots just like grandma but I still ask for it when I go home and somehow it tastes so much better.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

pickled bamboo shoot

 

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g pickled bamboo shoot
  • 100 g beef mince
  • 2 chilies (optional), chop roughly
  • 1 piece ginger chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Soak the bamboo shoot in water for 15 minutes and drain it. Rinse it with water and leave it to dry.
  2. 2. Cut the bamboo shoot into the size as photo shows.
  3. 3. Marinade the beef mince with marinade.
  4. 4. Heat the wok with a little bit oil to fry the bamboo shoot first until the surface looks slightly golden brown. Place it on a plate and leave it aside.
  5. 5. Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry the mince for 30 seconds and add chilli, keep stir fry until the mince is cooked.
  6. 6. Add bamboo shoot and stir fry for a couple minutes. Add seasonings and check the seasonings before plate it up.

Recipe Notes

* This dish should taste a little bit sour and a little bit spicy. It’s great when served with rice. (I always have 2 big bowls of rice with this dish)