One of my dinner spread for festivals
Good evening, dear friends 😀
Usually after my kitchen is cleaned and my refrigerators are decluttered to make space for my Chinese New Year (CNY) foodstuff, it is time to plan the menu for my CNY’s eve Family Reunion Dinner. Traditionally, the Chinese like to play with homonyms, i.e. words that sound the same or similar but could mean other things.
The basis of those auspicious names to simple dishes is just to make our minds filled with positive thoughts to begin the new year, with the wish that the coming year of the Rat will bring what we desire or hope for. Nevertheless, it is always fun when I introduce each dish to my family! 😆
For example, we like to serve prawns during that important Reunion Dinner because the word “Prawns” in the Cantonese dialect is “Har” but we equate that with the meaning laughter as in “Hahaha”…..so my dish of large prawns will be known in Cantonese as “Har Har Tai Siew”, meaning that ‘there is a lot of laughter”, a happy occasion. 😉
Hence, I will be serving the following “auspicious” dishes for my Reunion Dinner –
1) “Soup of Treasure” ( for recipe – please click here ) – as the name denotes, we have lots of goodies or treasure in the soup!
2) “Every Year There is An Overflow Of Abundance” or “Nin Nin Yau Yue“, which is simply a whole White Pomfret fish steamed with Soy Sauce and Golden Shallot Oil. The word “Fish” in Cantonese is “Yue” which can also mean “over abundance”. Traditionally, it must be one whole fish that is served as the head and tail parts of the fish signifies completion in all the things that we do, that there is a beginning and an ending.
3) “Big Laughter & Joy” or “Har Har Tai Siu“, which is sized prawns that are pan fried first, and then a garlic-oyster sauce is added.
4) “Gold Coins” or “Kum Chun Kuen“, which is actually a old family recipe of spring rolls that are made with minced pork, minced prawns, chopped water chestnuts, shallots…..rolled up in some pork fat “netting” and then steamed. Before serving, the spring rolls are cut into circular pieces, dipped in batter and fried a golden, crispy colour – hence, the term “Gold Coins.” I only make this during the CNY and my family always look forward to this dish the most! 😆
5) “Prosperity or Good Business and Get Lucky” or “Hoe See Fatt Choy“, which is dried large oyster (Hoe See) braised with some black moss )Fatt Choy).
6) “Heaven Full Of Gold and Treasure” or “Moon Teen Kum Tong“, which is a dish of assorted, colourful vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, baby carrots, button mushrooms, dried shitake mushrooms…..cooked with oyster sauce and prawns.
7) “Longevity Noodles” or “Sau Meen“, which is typically a special type of noodles that is stirfry with some meat and vegetables and served during birthdays or festive occasions, and they mean “longevity” to all.
8) “Honey Teriyaki Chicken” (hehe, I ran out of auspicous names for chicken 😆 ) and I like to serve chicken also as in the olden days, there is a saying that when there is a festive or happy occasion to celebrate, the elders in the house will say “slaughter a chicken to offer some thanksgiving prayers,” – i.e. a cooked chicken is used as one of the offering for the prayers.
There are 8 dishes because the number 8 in Cantonese is “Phart” which sounds like “Fatt” or “Prosperity“, which is auspicious. Didn’t you see that my blog name has double 8’s? 😆
I will post the recipes in a short while but the photos will only be available as I take them when I prepare and serve my Reunion Dinner. I have to go now to grate my pineapples to cook them as a filling for my Pineapples Tarts, and roast some peanuts to make Peanut Puffs or Kok Chai. I will be making these 2 traditional pastries tomorrow as my husband has insisted that I make instead of buy them! 🙄 😀
Gong Xi Fa Cai! 😀