My family decided to celebrate Winter Solstice earlier this year because of its proximity to Christmas. I was in charge of cooking, while hubs was in charge of cleaning the house.
I made a 9-course dinner.
For appetiser, I made a cold dish called Chicken Crystal Jelly, which is an aspic. I added blanched prawns and baby corns to make it look more pretty. To make this was very simple, simmer 3 chicken thighs in seasoned boiling water for about 30 minutes, like making chicken soup. Skim the gunk off the surface of the soup while it’s simmering, this will help make the stock clearer. After 30 minutes, remove cooked chicken thighs from soup, let cool and debone. As for the stock, strain it (I used those paper made specially for straining oil, bought from Daiso) to achieve an even clearer appearance. While the soup is still hot, mix in gelatine or agar-agar according to instructions.
Arrange chicken meat, prawns and baby corn in the jelly mold, then pour in the stock and chill in the fridge overnight or at least 5 hours. To unmold the jelly, place the mold in hot water for a few minutes, put a plate over the mold, then turn it upside down…the jelly should pop out effortlessly.
Second dish was steamed prawns with egg white and wine. The easiest of the lot. Arrange prawns on a plate, plate ginger slices and spring onions on top. Mix 2 tablespoons of ShiaoXing rice wine and 1 tablespoon of soya sauce then pour it over the prawns. Steam on high heat for 4 minutes and just before you turn off the fire, pour in 3 egg whites all over. Voila, done.
Easy stir-fry vegetable medley. Dump everything into oiled wok and flip em around till everything’s cooked.
Poached chicken. Stick chicken into boiling water for 30-40 minutes, take it out and them brush skin with sesame oil (3 tablespoon) and salt mixture (1 teaspoon). Let cool for a couple of hours then chop it up and serve. I also used the stock from boiling chicken as a base to my soup.
Dry bak kut teh. The BEST of the lot. Basically make stock with store-bought bakkutteh soup spice. Boil a head of garlic, pork belly, spare ribs and porn neck in the soup for 30-40 minutes. After that fry 10 pieces of dried chillies, soaked dried squid and chopped up bird’s eye chillies in oil till fragrant, make sure in a wok or a wide saucepan. Remove the meats and garlic from soup and add to the frying. Add a dash of dark soya sauce and a dash of oyster sauce. Then, ladle the BKT soup in and simmer for 30 minutes or until the soup thickens to a consistency of your liking. Chopped up ladies fingers and throw it in a minute before you turn off the flame. I think I will start making this pretty regularly…
Suan pan zhi or hakkan yam abacus. The last time I made this dish was back in 2008, when our kitchen was basically a little corner in the apartment with the floor as the work area. This year, making this dish was a lot easier as I am better equipped. The hand mixer was very useful, so I didn’t have to stick my hand into hot yam to knead it hehe. This time I added sliced tofu and slices of chillies too.
Easy pan-fried threadfin steaks, just finished with a dash of soya sauce.
Soup base was stock from cooking the poached chicken. Added handful of boxthorn berries, handful of red dates, handful of peanuts, a few pieces of pork neck and chopped arrowhead tubers. Boiled for an hour, yummy yumyum.
Of course, glutinous rice balls is a must for Winter Solstice dinner. These are homemade with gula melaka and peanut butter fillings. Click here to learn how to make tong yuen my way. Broth was made by boiling gula melaka, few slices of ginger and a handful of red dates.
Of course I made too much food. What’s new? Luckily my youngest brother and mom were willing to take the leftovers.