As I do not normally cook some of the CNY dishes, it is good to take down cooking notes. If it helps you to know what I am doing, it may give you some some ideas.
Planning for a meal up in Petaling Jaya (PJ) can be a challenge, especially if it is a kitchen which I am less familiar with. We are already in communication and various foodstuff is being bought or prepared, whether from Singapore, Ipoh or PJ.
This is what is being prepared for Reunion and rest of CNY:
If you are familiar with my Mum's way of using the wok to cook Char Siew, it should have crossed your mind that you can do the same with pork ribs.
This benefits from the same convenience. You do not need to marinate the pork ribs beforehand. For about 45 minutes from start to finish, you start by slowly braising the ribs and then towards the end, the sauce will caramelise. It is really that simple.
The bone in the pork ribs is a poor conductor of heat. So generally, you need more time to cook the ribs compared to boneless cuts.
Adding half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda will help tenderise the meat as you cook, cutting down the cooking time. Cutting it into bite size pieces makes cooking easier and faster.
Remember to use a normal wok for this (i.e. steel, iron, carbonised steel) and avoid using non-stick ones. Your wok will be stained after the cooking. Just heat up some water in it, add dish washing liquid in the heated water, the stains should come off easily as you scrape with your spatula.
So, what are you cooking for this coming Chinese New Year's Reunion dinner?
This is a special dinner where everyone comes back "home" and the family catches up with one another. It is very special for the older folks - our grandpas and grandmas - as each CNY Reunion dinner continues a chain of tradition that stretches back as far as they can remember.
I know many families these days find it more convenient to eat outside but we all know that it is not the same. In the home, the littles ones can run around and scream their lungs out while the senior ones beam and smile, seated in their comfortable chairs. You do not need to rush through dinner to accommodate the "next seating." And home-cooked meals, lovingly made, are always delicious and warms the heart, don't you agree?
Steamed egg brings back many childhood memories. Next to milk and milo, it is one of the first foods which we were comforted with.
Quick and easy to make, I can imagine why mothers feed their kids with this. When the rice cooker button pops up, from "cook" to "warm", my mum will put a plate on the rice. She poured a layer of the egg-water mix into a plate, closed the lid, and let it steam-cook for a few minutes. It is an efficient way of cooking, making use of the steam and heat from the cooked rice. Sprinkle some diced spring onions to introduce some veg to the child's diet.
A new year has started! A blessed new year to all.
Thanks again for your feedback that you are finding the recipes and techniques shared here helpful. This motivates me to continue blogging. If anything, the discipline of blogging also helps me to be more organised, reflective and improve on my cooking.
I thought I should take down some cooking notes for the dishes I cooked last Christmas. In posting it here, I hope it can also be helpful for you as tips for party-cooking. I am of course very busy in my work as a pastor, and so I need to plan ahead and ensure the dishes are not too complicated. You will find these quite easy to do and good to serve for parties.
I continue to rediscover my Wong family roots and renewing connections with my relatives. They got to read about The Malay Mail feature on my late Mum. When I was in Ottawa during my Sabbatical, I reconnected with one of my uncles and we talked about my Mum's cooking and how much he misses some of her dishes. I have also bonded with some faithful suppliers who have become friends and from whom I have learned so much about our produce. I continue to receive feedback from those who have tried the recipes on the blog and are happy with the results. It is interesting how food and cooking bring people together.