Fun Chinese New Year 2012

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Chinese New Year party

Ladies' potluck lunch

I thought I would have a quiet Chinese New Year this year but NO, I was wrong. This past 1+ week had been wonderfully busy for me….lots of cooking, food, fun and friends. We ended the last day of Chinese New Year (Chap Goh Mei) with a most fun Ladies Pot Luck Steamboat Lunch.  We ladies sure know how to enjoy life when our husbands go to work….*big grin*. We never fail to tell our hardworking husbands what we had and how much we enjoy our lunches….*bigger grin*. I’m not too sure about others but I can see my husband’s face always turns green with jealousy…haha. But honestly, I think all the fun and food that we had make us happier wives…..*big smiles*.

Delicious fried rice vermicelli

Delicious fried rice vermicelli

Ooops…interruption here! As I was typing away, my girl came with a lovely plate of fried rice vermicelli for my lunch. That’s so sweet of her…..*smiles*. You can see from the picture how much vegetables she put on my plate. She sure knows my likes! Well, she is quite like me. Both of us love tender stem broccoli, omelette with tomatoes and rocket leaves and rice vermicelli. I must say her presentation is always better than mine. It’s not too salty and it’s colourful, light and healthy. I really enjoyed the lunch. Most important of all, it warms my heart to know that my girl knows how to cook a quick, simple and healthy meal even when she is busy.

Right, back to my post about Chinese New Year. We had several Chinese New Year parties this year, mainly pot luck style where each one brings a dish or 2. We had it at different venues. There was one in my house too, for my lady friends (top picture above). Pot luck style is always a wonderful option for parties as you don’t have to cook a lot and yet eat a lot since everyone brings. It’s relaxing and everyone enjoys.

However, I managed to cook for the whole party for one time over the weekend where I invited a dozen lovely friends to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. We had a great time of chat and we even played Win Lose or Draw and also Taboo. We laughed so much….haha. That was one of the best parties that I had ever have in my house.

Want to know what I cooked? It’s quite the usual stuff really. It’s always best to cook something that you are familiar with rather than venture out into unknown territory. I always tell my friends that if they come more often, they will find themselves eating the usual same food!….*grin*.

Chinese New Year party

Chinese New Year party

You can see on the table that there’s chicken curry, fried noodles, plain rice (in the rice cooker), braised pork, baked fish fillets, roasted chicken. These are the usual ones that I serve and it’s very Malaysian. A friend brought the pork ribs ‘bak kut teh’ which is very delicious with rice. ‘Bak out teh’ is a pork dish in herbal soup. It’s very warming and nutritious. I also cooked the spicy sambal and sweet and sour king prawns. Sambal goes very well with rice or fried noodles.

Chinese New Year party

Chinese New Year party

On this table above here, you can see all the desserts and also vegetable and fruit salad. There is also the cassava crackers and fish crackers. Those fish crackers were a hit. They were made by my mother-in-law. She makes them for sale. When I went back in December last year, I saw her made them. My gosh…it was labour intensive! But they are just SO good….mmmm. My girls have been pestering me to try and make them. I answer them “I’ll see first, maybe one day.” But deep down I am screaming, “NO!!” Well, one day I may try. Need to build up my courage and patience first… *wink*. Oh, and a friend brought a panda chiffon cake. That was just delicious!….mmmm. Everyone liked it very much. It’s so light, cottony soft and moist.

Chinese New Year pot luck steamboat

Chinese New Year pot luck steamboat

On the final day of the Chinese New Year, Chap Goh Mei, we had the ladies’ pot luck steamboat (hot pot) lunch in a friend’s house. Absolutely fantastic… much food, fun and laughter. Steamboat is always fun, both in preparation and eating. Actually not much preparation needed. Most food is raw and everyone will cook herself on the table. The most important is the soup stock. It has to be tasty. It tastes even better after cooking all the food. We had 2 steamboat cookers to cater to 12 of us.

Dishing up egg noodles

Dishing up egg noodles

I brought homemade egg noodles. Everyone loved the noodles. It was funny how everyone stood up to dish out the noodles from the pot….haha. Wow…full concentration here! Next time I will make longer noodles. That would be total fun to watch. Everyone will probably have to stand on the chairs to dish out the noodles from the pot…..haha.

Homemade fish balls

Homemade fish balls

I also made fish balls to bring there. Fish balls, beef balls, pork balls and squid balls are all great choices for steamboat. My fish balls tasted very delicious. My family likes them. However I find the texture not there yet. Just sad that we can’t get a special type of mackerel here, called ‘ikan tenggiri’ in Malaysia. Over here in Aberdeen, the best fish for fish balls is a type of fish called hake. However, they don’t sell it in the supermarket. You need to go to the fishmonger to order…..*sigh*.

Pandan bean puffs

Pandan bean puffs

Pandan bean puffs

Pandan bean puffs

I also made a dessert. I made pandan bean puffs. Pandan is a very fragrant leave called screwpine leaves. We use a lot back home in Malaysia for making desserts and drinks. All my friends liked the puffs very much…..happy me. The sesame seeds on top give a nice fragrance.

Well, that’s how much fun I had and how busy I was this Chinese New Year. To all my Chinese friends and readers, I hope you had a great time too with your family and friends. And to all non-Chinese friends and readers, I hope you had a great holiday and a taste of the Chinese New Year celebration with your Chinese friends.

Oh yes, I must mention here about Katerina of Culinary Flavours. She is a Greek, an awesome mother and cook. She even took the time to cook Chinese food for her family and share with her son about the Chinese culture. That’s so inspiring! Do visit her blog. She has lots of lovely recipes.

And  if you think you have over eaten during this festive season and want to get back to healthy food, I would recommend another lovely food blogger, Sophie at Sophies Foodie Files. Sophie is from Belgium. She has a lot of healthy recipes, some of them non gluten. I got quite a lot of good tips from her. Do drop by her blog.

And if you want to cook Malaysian food for a party, here is my recommendation. It’s rather simple and easy where you use both the stove and the oven. I cook them all the time for my parties. When I have more time, I would add another one, two our even more.

1. Chicken curry
This can be cooked early and reheated before serving.
Check out at Fast And Easy Malaysian Chicken Curry

2. Fried noodles
Any vegetables and meat can go with noodles. I always make it vegetarian which is quicker.                               Great to go with curry.
Check out at Delicious Malaysian Fried Noodles (Part 2)
If you want to make your own egg noodles, which is the best, please check out at
How To Make Egg Noodles At Home

3. Sweet and sour chicken/pork/prawns
A hot favourite. Cook the sauce and panfry the meat early. Just before serving just mix and heat up.
Check out at Restaurant Style Sweet And Sour Pork

4. Char siu chicken/pork
Use the bottle sauce to marinade the meat which is quick. Bake about half hour before meal.
Check out at Super Fast Chinese Roasted Chicken

5. Vegetable with Thai dressing
Prepare the dressing early. Buy ready washed salad. Don’t mix the dressing. Put in separate bowl and let           your guests help themselves.
Check out at How To Make Salad - For Health And Weight Lose.

6. Baked fish
Defrost, add seasoning and bake just before your guests arrive. Fish is always best served hot. Use warmer       to keep your food warm if possible.
Check out at Baked Fish Fillet Just like Steamed.

7. Rice
Rice is always a must to go with the dishes. I hardly use rice cooker but I do need it when I have parties, to keep the rice hot. You can just cook plain rice or coconut rice or even turmeric rice as in ‘nasi lemak’. To cook coconut rice, check out at Easy Nasi Lemak Overseas - Malaysia’s Great Favourite. Coconut rice goes very well with curry but may not be that nice for braised pork, char siu chicken and sweet and sour prawns. So I only served plain white rice.

For desserts, you can make it ahead and keep in the fridge. Depending on the type, some do not need to be heated up while some need to be heated up. An easy one would be the banana fritters. This one is easy and simple. You can make this ahead and warm up in the oven for a while just before serving. They can also be eaten cold. If you need more, there are lots more in my Recipes section.

Hope you have fun cooking!

Quote of the day……

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

- Helen Keller

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Belinda @zomppa  on February 8th, 2012

What a feast this was! Wish I was there - those fish balls - you KNOW I love fish balls!

somewhere in singapore  on February 8th, 2012

miss out, wish i were there…

kristy  on February 8th, 2012

Whoa Mary, what a seducing pot luck party you have there. Not sure where to start from, actually! haha…. Everything sounded so luscious especially your chinese pastry. I’m sure everyone is having a good time. Hope you’re enjoying your day.

Mary  on February 9th, 2012

@Belinda @zomppa - Come and I will make fish balls for you…lots of fish balls :D

@somewhere in singapore - Yes, you should come. Still waiting for you. Why does your flight take so long to take off?…haha

@kristy - Yes, it was all so fun. You should come and join us. We will have more food and laughter if you are here :D I hope you have a great new year too. Now it’s back to reality :D

Dulee An ;)  on February 9th, 2012

Finally I have finished this post. Took me about 6 tries cos someone kept stealing my phone from me. What a wonderful wonderful Chinese new years you had, Mary! You sure know how to party. And steamboat makes me soooo hungry! I think between that and Japanese food, it’s a tough choice which is my favorite. G and I once had steamboat (we call it hot pot here) for 5 days straight at home cos we bought too much for the two of us. Lol. And even after that, we still LOVE eating it. I definitely agree with you that the soup is very important - must be tasty! Also the sauce as well! But I do not agree with you that “everyone will cook herself on the table”. I prefer to cook shrimp, not myself :PPP teeheehee. Just bugging you! Everything looks so yummy. Those pandan bean puffs look so good right about now. Never had pandan bean puffs before. You are truly an amazing cook, Mary. I wished I knew how to cook at least half the stuff you make. And I’m with your girls, go Mary go! I think you can have the patience to make those fish crackers. Thanks for sharing all your recipes. I need to check them out when I’ve got more time, especially the sweet and sour shrimp! Take care! Big hugs!

Drick  on February 9th, 2012

Hey there, gonna send warm wishes for a happy new year, kinda late I know, but the thought is always there for you and you lovely family… what a wonderful, beautiful spread of goodness you and the girls enjoyed, it all looks and sounds ever so wonderful and we thank you for giving us a place to find recipes… I have only steamed dumpling type foods a few times, most of what we do is fry, but you know that… shrimp balls, crab and fish, even crawfish, cheese and vegetable balls all deep fried and served with various Cajun or Creole dipping sauces… oh, and I like your steamed vegetables for lunch, that I have been doing a lot of lately… Mary, you would be happy to know, I only cook meat about once a week, steak night…. vegetables and no bread…. (although I do season some of my veggies with a little smoked meat once in a while, I just cannot help it)… take care, I always love reading your post for inspirations even though I have been on the go so much lately… bless all of you…….

peteformation  on February 9th, 2012

Wah big CNY party for the ladies….sure lots of good food to eat….yum!

momgateway  on February 9th, 2012

Wow, such a delicious spread! How I’d love to learn how to make tasty bouncy fish balls.

Blackswan  on February 9th, 2012

Hey Mary, that’s whole load of fun! Always envy your ladies’ gatherings. Hahaha! I wanna join in the fun too!!

I’ve been busy too, over the CNY. I’ve got friends from Japan joining us this year & this is what I’d made: CNY Lo Hei: Auspicious Salmon Yu Sheng (发财鱼生)!

Jeannie  on February 10th, 2012

Wow! so much food and laughter for the CNY, sure to prosper and happy for the rest of the year lol! I can understand why your hubby turned green with envy, I would too!

Katerina  on February 10th, 2012

I too when I have parties try to cook things I know and make best. You had such a great time with your parties and what you cooked for your friends looks very inviting and appetizing!

suituapui  on February 10th, 2012

Wow!!! For a while, I thought you cooked all that… So nice to have so many friends to celebrate together - that way, you would not miss home one bit.

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on February 11th, 2012

That’s a fun gathering loaded with deliciousness! I want those pandan bean puffs!

Sophie  on February 11th, 2012

Waw, Indeed! What a feast for the eyes & senses! That’s quite an attractive array of fine foods! :)

Thanks so much for sharing with us, dear MaryMoh! :)

Mary  on February 12th, 2012

@Dulee An - Whah…you are very persistent indeed…haha. I would have given up and wait till that person goes to bed and then try again :P If u had been here, I would have even more parties. probably have to write a few posts about the Chinese New Year…haha. And you sure had a marathon Japanese food :D Just wait till one day I learn how to cook Japanese. Will be sukiyaki instead….hehe.

Ooops….I think a better way to say…if only we can exchange half of what we know how to cook, to each other! I WANT Vietnamese food…lots! You have to cook a lot for me when I visit you :D Keropok? Oh…still a NO NO…haha.

@Drick - Awwww….thanks lots, Drick! Just love reading your comments…always encouraging :D Yet I know you are trying to make me drool by mentioning all those seafood, especially the prawns!! You make me feel like wanting to eat midnight supper of prawns…haha. Love the cajun seasoning. have not tried any Mexican food for a long time. Must cook again. And it’s just so wonderful to know you are eating very healthy these days. You must be having loads of energy with all those healthy stuff. I know you are very busy but thanks very much for dropping by :D Appreciate very much.

@peteformation - Yes, the ladies sure know how to party. Oh wait, we did have men around, but tiny ones….called babies….haha :D

@momgateway - Thanks very much! I need to try my fish balls again. I need to find the right type of fish. Hope you get to make them one day. have fun cooking :D

@Blackswan - Come, come….always would be so great to have you here. With you here, I think all our roofs will come down…haha. Your Chinese New Year sounds very fun too. It’s wonderful to have overseas friends visiting. I just love all your Chinese New Year dishes. Love all the presentation. They all look like restaurant food! You cook awesome food, Shirley! I have to learn from you :D

@Jeannie - Oh yes, I really want more food and prosperity throughout the year :D Must look out for more events to party. Oh yes, Valentines day coming….hehe

@Katerina - Thanks very much, Katerina! Actually it’s good to go for pot luck parties. Since I only need to bring one or 2 dishes, I have more time to try out new recipes :D

@suituapui - Arthur, if I can cook all that, I can easily open a cafe in Sibu…hehe. You are very right, it helps me not to miss home that much….but still missing home. I tried to imagine what everyone ate…greedy me huh :D

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! Come, and I will make those puffs for you :D

@Sophie - Thanks very much, Sophie! :D

lena  on February 13th, 2012

wow wow! gatherings, laughter and so much food! really nice to see you guys celebrating and cretaing the CNY atmosphere there in a farwawy land! so after eating all these food, more badminton sessions to follow?

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