Chinese New Year was last month. It’s been a long time since I sat down to dinner cooked by my Mom. We always have had a special meal such as this on new year’s eve. The dishes often have a connection with Chinese traditions.
We started with a cream style corn egg drop soup. Not traditional, but it was easy. Then we had stir fry BBQ pork with assorted vegetables. In Cantonese, it’s called yew gor yuk ding. Roughly translated as cashews with diced meat cubes and vegetables.
The next dish is similar to shiitake mushroom with dried oyster and seaweed dish. This version has king mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. Traditionally it contains dried oysters and seaweed. In Cantonese, it’s called ho see fat choy. Ho see sounds like prosperous and fat choy sounds like hair and means healthy.
The last dish is a chicken, ham, and broccoli dish. It is called kum wah yuk shi kai. Kum sounds like gold in Cantonese. Kum wah (jinhua) is also a famous ham in China. Yuk shi means jade. Kai is chicken. It’s a homestyle Cantonese dish.
Oh and white rice, which we had, but not in the photos. In Cantonese, everything is about how it sounds and what it resembles.
It’s been a long time since I have cooked homestyle Cantonese. What I mean by that is food that is not found in Chinese restaurants. Food my Mom made for dinner at home.
Three Kinds of Steamed Egg with Pork (xiam dan jing che yok)
4-6 eggs, reserve ½ egg shell
1 *pickled or salted duck egg (ham dan)
1 century duck egg (preserved egg)
1/2 lb ground pork
1 diced green onion
Vegetable oil, ground pepper, soy salt, soy sauce and water
Saute ground pork, ground pepper, and salt with oil until almost cooked through. Chop preserved duck egg and salted duck egg. Beat regular eggs; try 4 first. Also beat in pickled egg if using. Add ½ egg shell of water for each regular egg (3T). Mix the eggs and water together.
Put ground pork in 9” pie plate, add chopped eggs and egg mixture. Boil water, steam for 10 minutes in a suitable pot. Halfway through steaming sprinkle green onion on top. Drizzle with soy sauce before serving. Serve with steamed rice.
*Some salted eggs looked like a medium boiled egg with orange yolk. Some pickled duck eggs have a raw white with orange liquid yolk.
The recipe for a jazzed up version of steamed pork (yuk beng) was courtesy of Eat Your Heart Out. The traditional version uses steamed pork and mushroom only.
To steam the dishes, I used a 10″ pie plate, a plate lifter, steaming rack and canning pot. It works really well, but for a plate of this size, a larger canner is needed. The plate lifter and steaming rack can be bought at Asian food stores or Asian restaurant supply stores.
2 lbs chicken breast, skinless, boneless, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1, 5” piece ginger, peeled and julienned
8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and sliced
3 tbs oyster sauce
3 tbs soy sauce
¼ C Chinese cooking wine
2 tbs corn starch
2 tbs vegetable oil
Marinate chicken with oyster sauce, soy sauce, wine, corn starch and black pepper to taste. Add enough water to make a sauce. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to cook, brown garlic in vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken. Cook the chicken until some pink remains. Add the mushrooms and ginger. Add more water if required to thin the sauce. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with sesame oil drizzled on top, and with rice.
For dessert, my dinner guests brought over some homemade strawberry meringue tarts. They were absolutely delicious! It’s not Chinese, but it is dessert.