Why not impress your family this year by cooking Reunion Dinner? CHC’s head of Hospitality, Pastor Yong Te-Chong presents three easy yet impressive dishes plus a dessert that will knock their socks off!
It looks like most people will be dining at home this Chinese New Year, with safe distancing measures still in place in Phase Three of Singapore’s reopening. While steamboat is always an easy way to enjoy Reunion Dinner, why not up your game this year and prepare some classic dishes that are CNY-suitable yet not overwhelmingly difficult?
Pastor Yong Te-Chong is a believer that everyone can cook—it just takes the desire and the willingness to practise. We invited him to created a four-item menu that is delicious, healthy, and perfect for a young couple to prepare for Reunion Dinner and delight their parents.
The menu is a balanced one: one meat item, a vegetable item, a rice item and a dessert. Pastor Yong’s Sweet And Sour Hainanese Crispy Fried Pork is a festive take on the traditional Hainanese Pork Chop. Pork belly is a CNY favourite, and here it’s marinated and deep fried, then paired with a perfect red sauce. Chap Chye is a perennial CNY must-eat, and Pastor Yong’s is a delicious smoky version that is sure to score many points with your mother. Claypot Rice is a great option as you can make it as luxurious as you want. While Pastor Yong’s delicious version comes with hearty boneless chicken thighs, Chinese sausage and mushrooms, you can add ham, duck, egg, even seafood if you wish.
Two quick tips when prepping your CNY Reunion Dinner: use only fresh and quality ingredients, and take time to prepare all your ingredients before you begin cooking.
Happy cooking and gong xi fa cai!
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Sweet And Sour Hainanese Crispy Fried Pork
1 kg pork belly strips (about 1cm thick)
5 Russet potatoes (peeled and cut into wedges)
4 cups of oil for frying
1 large onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 cloves of garlic, minced
150 gm green peas
Seasoning for pork belly:
2/3 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tbsp sugar
4 tbsp rice wine
1½ tsp five spice powder
1½ tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch
4 cloves grated garlic
To coat for frying:
1 packet sweet potato flour or rice flour
Ingredients for sauce:
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
2/3 tsp salt
½ tbsp sesame oil
1½ tbsp corn starch
200 ml water
Pepper to taste
1. Trim rind off pork belly strips and season well. Let them sit for a minimum of 20 min, up to 1 hour.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and potato wedges and boil for 5 min. Drain wedges, then add 1 tbsp corn or rice flour and mix to coat well.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan at medium heat. Add in the wedges and fry till golden. Remove from pan, sprinkle salt and pepper lightly, and set aside.
4. Fill a tray or large plate with half a packet of sweet potato or rice flour. Coat the seasoned pork belly with the flour. Pat each strip of pork belly firmly to ensure that flour sticks to the meat. Shake off excess flour, then place the strip into the frying pan, frying each side for about 2 min till golden brown. Continue till all the pork belly is fried. Set pork belly strips on a rack to dry.
5. In a clean pan, add 4 tbsp oil, heat till smoking. Add the onion and garlic and do a quick flash fry till aromatic (about 30 sec). Add green peas and tomatoes and sauté for 30 sec. Give sauce mixture a good stir then add to the pan. Once sauce is thickened, remove from the pan and set aside.
6. Place potato wedges on one side of your serving plate. Cut up the pork belly strips into 1.5 cm-wide pieces, and arrange them beside the wedges. Drizzle the sauce over the pork and potatoes. Serve hot. Alternatively, the sauce can served separately in a bowl so that the pork remains crispy.
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1.5 to 2 kg round cabbage, cut into 8 wedges (stem removed, leaves separated). Soak and wash thoroughly
20 pcs fried bean curd skin
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
10g or 2 small bundles glass noodles (soaked in water till soft and drained; cut each bundle in half)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, quartered
1 packet tau pok (about 10 pcs, cut into 4 strips each)
2 pcs red fermented bean curd (optional)
15 pcs dried shiitake mushroom (washed, rehydrated in hot water till soft, squeezed dry and sliced; keep soaking liquid)
2/3 cup of dried black fungus, washed, and pre-soaked till soft and sliced thickly.
3 to 4 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp sesame oil
100 ml soy sauce or 50 ml if not using red fermented bean curd
400 to 500 ml water
250 g minced pork seasoned with salt, pepper, sesame oil. Alternatively, 100g dried shrimp.
Salt and sugar to taste
1. Heat wok. Add bean curd skin and tau pok and dry fry till slightly charred. Set aside.
2. Add 6 to 8 tbsp oil to the wok. When wok is smoking, add dried shrimp or minced pork to brown slightly. Add shiitake mushroom to wok and sauté till aromatic.
3. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 30 sec.
4. If using fermented bean curd, add it at this point and mash it with the spatula to incorporate well with the ingredients.
5. Add cabbage and carrot to the wok, sauté for 1 min. Pour in soy sauce around rim of wok to release the aroma of the sauce. Mix well.
6. Add water and mix well. You may transfer the mixture into a pot at this point. Add in the black fungus, along with the bean curd skin and tau pok. Cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low and braise till cabbage is soft (about 30 min). Add in the glass noodles, spread and mix well with the vegetables. Braise for another 10 min.
7. Adjust the taste with sugar, salt and pepper if needed.
8. Mix corn starch with 6 tbsp of water and pour into the chap chye, stirring chap chye gently to thicken. Once thickened to your liking, your chap chye is ready to serve.
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4 cups uncooked rice
4 pcs Chinese sausage (cut into 4 mm thick slices)
10 pcs dried Shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated and cut into 4mm thick slices)
4 pcs boneless chicken thighs (cut into 2-3 cm cubes and seasoned for at least 30 min)
4 stalks spring onion (sliced thinly on the diagonal)
1 sprig coriander (optional)
6 tbsp oil
Seasoning for chicken thighs:
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
Pinch of salt
½ tbsp sugar
2/3 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp ginger juice
Sauce to drizzle over rice:
3 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
8 tbsp light soy sauce
1 to 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp oil
1. Rinse the rice, soak in water for at least 1 hr.
2. In a 1500ml/cc clay pot or a 30cm non-stick pan with lid, add rice and level it. Add in a mixture of mushroom liquid and soaked rice water till the water level is 1cm above the rice. This step is important as too much water yields mushy rice and too little causes rice to be hard. If the rice seems hard after cooking, add in some water , cover with lid, and steam till soft.)
3. Add cooking oil to the rice and water. Stir and mix well.
4. Add seasoned chicken in a single layer on top of the rice on one side (do not stack or clump chicken together, or it may cook unevenly).
5. Turn on the fire, bring it to a rolling boil, adjust fire to medium or medium low, cover it with lid. Cook for about 10 to 15 min till water is almost dry on the rice, add mushrooms, Chinese sausages to the pot or pan. Spread them out evenly on the other side of the rice. Cover with lid, and cook for another 10 to 15 min till rice and meat are cooked.
6. Add spring onions, cover and cook for 5 mins on medium high heat.
7. While waiting for rice and meat to be cooked, mix the drizzling sauce, adjusting it to taste. It should be a balance of sweet and salty.
An important note: Stand by your pot. Do not move away or your pot will be burnt. Wait and listen for the crackling sound at the bottom of the pot or pan. Once it’s crackling, let it continue for about 1 min. You want a slightly charred aroma, not a burnt smell!
8. Once the claypot rice is done, releasing a crackling sound, remove from fire, place on a thick coaster, open the lid and drizzle in the sauce. Wait for the sizzling effect. Stir well to mix ingredients and rice. Serve hot.
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1½ tsp dried osmanthus flowers
1 to 2 tbsp wolfberries (washed and soaked till puffy)
1 can of longans
10gm konnyaku powder (sugarless and colourless)
800 ml water
200 ml of liquid from canned longans
80 to 150g sugar (add according to your preference)
1. Steep osmanthus flowers and sugar in 800ml of boiling water for 5 mins. Discard about 70 percent of the osmanthus flowers, leaving rest in the tea. Let liquid cool slightly.
2. Arrange rehydrated wolfberries and longans into the jelly mould.
3. In a pot over a low fire, add konnyaku powder, longan syrup and osmanthus tea, stirring continuously to mix well and bring to a boil. You may add more sugar if you wish. Turn off the fire, and keep stirring to avoid clumping. Still until all the bubbles disappear.
4. Pour jelly mixture into mould.
5. Burst bubbles in the jelly with a toothpick while it’s still hot.
6. Let jelly sit at room temperature till it sets. Keep it in the chiller overnight or at least for 5 hours until it’s chilled. Serve cold.