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New Year's Eve - Reunion Dinner

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

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Happy Chinese New Year everyone! CNY is all about eating and drinking! Yummy cookies, scrumptious food all day long...yum yum yum and this celebration lasts 15 days. We start the celebration on new year's eve, that's when we have our reunion dinner. For most Chinese families, we normally go back to the "guy's side" for reunion dinner and its normlly held at the house of the most senior member of the family or nowadays, people just eat out. Our family's reunion dinner is held at my grandmother's house (dad's mum) every year. I had to miss this important event this year as I am not back for CNY =(

For reunion dinners, fish and chicken are normally served. Fish is served because of the Chinese phrase 年年有余 (nian nian you yu), which means 'may there be leftovers every year'. Leftovers in this case means money. And fish in Chinese is 鱼 (yu) which has the same pronunciation as 余. As for chicken, I am not too sure myself, I just know it symbolises prosperity. This year, we had our own reunion dinner on Sunday, just the 2 of us and our flatmate. I cooked 2 dishes that involved those 2 main ingredients.

For my chicken dish: I shall call it

Happy Reunion

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  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • 8 Chinese Mushrooms - washed
  • 1/2 cup Dried Scallops (Conpoy) - washed
  • 4 pieces Chicken (2 thighs, 2 drumsticks)
  • 1 can Abalone - cut abalone into slices, keep juice for sauce
  • 500ml Chicken Stock (low-sodium)
  • Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Corn Starch Slurry
For sauce:

  • Place mushrooms and dried scallops in a bowl, add enough water to cover mushrooms and scallops, cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight.
  • The next day, place chicken pieces and chicken stock in a pot, bring to boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer until chicken is tender.
  • Remove chicken pieces from pot.
  • Shred chicken pieces and leave aside for later use.
  • Pour water that was used to soak mushrooms and scallops into the pot of chicken stock.
  • Add all the juice from canned abalone into the pot of chicken stock.
  • Add in mushrooms.
  • Boil at medium low heat to reduce stock.
  • Cook vegetables in stock and remove vegetables when they are cooked. Leave aside for later use.
  • Continue to reduce stock.
  • Add sugar and pepper to taste.
  • Thicken with corn starch slurry.
To assemble:

  • Line the inside of a bowl with clingfilm.
  • Place a layer of abalone slices on clingfilm, lining the insides of the bowl.
  • Spread a layer of shredded softened scallops.
  • Followed by a layer of shredded chicken.
  • Alternate between chicken and scallops, cover the top with leftover abalone slices.
  • Wrap with clingfilm.
  • Steam for 10 mins.
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  • Remove from steamer.
  • Open up clingfilm. Place a plate over the bowl and flip over.
  • Slowly lift up bowl and remove clingfilm.
  • Arrange vegetables and mushrooms all around and pour sauce over.

For my fish dish:

Steamed Spicy Sea Bream

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  • 1 Sea Bream (about 500g)
  • Sesame Oil
  • 10 slices Ginger
  • 3 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 1 Red Chili - sliced
  • 1 stalk Spring Onion - diced
  • Coriander
For sauce: I used the following seasonings but not sure the exact amount.


  • Fry ginger, garlic and chili in sesame oil until fragrant.
  • Remove ginger, garlic and chili from pan, leaving the sesame oil in the pan for the sauce.
  • Place a few slices of ginger on a plate.
  • Make a few slits on the fish and place on top of ginger.
  • Put the rest of the ginger, garlic and chili on top of fish, and stuff a bit in the stomach.
  • Steam until done. (for this 500g fish, it was done after 12 mins)
For sauce:

  • Add all the seasonings in the pan with sesame oil.
  • Add spring onions.
  • Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer.
  • Pour on steamed fish.
  • garnish with coriander
  • The mirin that I used:

40 oink oinks...:

noobcook said...

Both dishes are so festive and beautifully styled =D

Girl Japan said...

Oh this looks divine.. the shitake musgrooms.. YUM... Ginger.. I love ginger.. Oh you sure know how to entertain..

5 Star Foodie said...

Both dishes look amazing! I have to admit that I am unfamiliar with several of the ingredients including sea bream so this is very educational for me. Thanks for sharing!

Zen Chef said...

Happy Chinese New Year. Your feast looks fantastic!

Dragon said...

Happy New Year! This feast looks amazing. Yum!

jesse said...

Oh YUM! I love all your pictures, they are simply breathtaking! And the food takes me back to my childhood, where I grew up eating the exact same things every CNY... *sniff* Happy Chinese Niu Year to you too!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Happy Chinese New Year. Looks like you had a fabulous time and marvelous food!

Hayley said...

You always have the most interesting recipes. Thanks for sharing!

Pam said...

Your pictures are truly excellent. It looks like you had a wonderful feast and a fun time.

pigpigscorner said...

noobcook: Thanks! It's only once a year so we should definitely celebrate it with something special!

Girl Japan:The mushrooms were goood, soaked up all the gorgeous gravy. The wild boar and my flamate finished all the ginger!

5 Star Foodie:Thanks! It's always nice to learn something new!

Zen Chef:Thanks! Happy New Year to you too!

Dragon:Thanks! We were stuffed after that! Happy New Year to you too!

jesse:Thanks! I miss celebrating CNY back home!

Katherine Aucoin: Thanks! We had a great time eating!

Hayley:Thanks =)

pigpigscorner said...

Thanks Pam! We had a great time eating!

mikky said...

oh my... everything looks so amazing... i love the presentation of your chicken... :)

Grace said...

your posts are always an education for me--i'm so oblivious to so many items used in chinese cuisine. i do know this--they're a pleasure to behold. :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

You entered the new year in great style! That's a wonderful meal!

Reeni♥ said...

What beautiful dishes! Your flatmate is lucky to have you! Happy New Year!

Christine said...

Happy New Year. That is a scrumptious feast!

luckytastebuds said...

OMgosh that steamed fish is making me salivate. It's my favorite dish in the entire world and I only get to have it when I go home (back to Asia). Looks like your CNY was FABULOUS!!

Natashya said...

Happy New Year to you!
The food looks so exotic and delicious!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Gung hay fat choy! Looks fantastic. I've never cooked with abalone before, but I've been seeing it all over the food blog world. Will have to pick some up next time I'm in C-town.

pigpigscorner said...

mikky: Thanks! It's a good way to hide away the unsightly shredded chicken.

Grace: I am learning as well! Don't you just love browsing food blogs!

Clumbsy Cookie: Thanks! It's once a year so I wanted to make it special!

Reeni: Thank you! I hope she doesn't think that I'm trying to make her fat =P

Christine: Thanks! Happy New Year to you too!

luckytastebuds: It was great! Just a bit boney, I can't really stand fish with too much bones.

Natashya: Thank you. Happy New Year to you too!

Marc: Gong hei fat choy! Thanks! I love abalone, it tastes delicious!

Holly said...

Gung Hee Fat Choy!! May you have a prosperous year full of food and happiness.

duodishes said...

Fantastic spread. The sea bream is calling our name.

Sara said...

Everything looks so beautiful!

Navita said...

love the shine on the mushrooms...the sauce is something i just hve to try :)

noble pig said...

Now that's a feast to have! Very beautiful!

Sophie said...

Your photograph & food looks so appetizing! yum yum !

Ning said...

I love your chicken dish! It is surely a heavenly dish with abalone and scallops! Yum! Make that double yum! :)

Jessica said...

Your dishes look amazing! Chinese food is something I have made very little of at home. It's always been intimidating to me so thanks for sharing some recipes!

Elra said...

OMG, you are killing me with all of this dishes. They sounds so delicious. And oh, Happy New Year to you as well, may yours fill with happiness and lot's lot's of luck.

Food novice said...

Looks amazing. I especially loved the look of the chicken dish. Could you please provide a picture /describe it/tell me where you bought it from of the mirin sauce you used? Thanks.

pigpigscorner said...

Holly: Gong Hei Fat Choy to you too!

duodishes: Thanks! The sea bream was great!

Sara: Thank you =)

Navita: Don't you just love those mushrooms! They were delicious! And the sauce was very flavourful.

noble pig: Thank you!

Sophie: Thanks!

Ning: Yeap, it was a luxurious dish! A great way to start a new year!

Jessica: There's a lot to Chinese cuisine other than just stir- frying. I am still learning as well!

Elra: Thanks! Happy New Year to you!

Food novice: Thank you. I'll post a picture of the mirin I used. It was the only one available at the Japanese grocer I went to. It is called Sweet Seasoning, Hon Mirin. Ingredients: glutinous rice, rice koji, water, distilled alcohol (13.6%), dextrose.

Erica said...

Honestly- this looks like such art! This must take forever ever to prepare! Great work, i'm sure it was enjoyed by all!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Wow, this spread looks amazing! Thanks for the step by step on how to do the chicken dish. I've always seen it and thought it was too hard but your pics are great! Happy Chinese New Year! :D

Kevin said...

Nice looking meal!

pigpigscorner said...

Erica: Thank you! It didn't take too long actually. And we enjoyed it!

Lorraine:Thanks! It's really simple to assemble, and looks good!

Kevin: Thanks!

Wild Boar said...

The chicken dish is actually quite traditional, made me feel quite homesick, since we've been overseas for 8 years now :-(

tigerfish said...

Fish is abundance!
Your chicken dish looks so "grand" :)

pigpigscorner said...

Yes! Wish you have lots of "fish" every year! And Thanks =)

mycookinghut said...

I love your happy reunion dish! It looks something that you can get at the restaurant!

pigpigscorner said...

mycookinghut: Thank you =) My attempt to cure everyone's homesick.

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