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Few weeks ago, my wife and I celebrated Chinese New Year in Singapore. In Singapore, Chinese New Year can be a challenging affair. For people like us who don’t have relatives in Singapore, Chinese New Year is a challenging period where we have to prepare food for ourselves or be happy with fast-food joints for at least 3 days. You see, during this period, the whole city is like a ghost town. Shopping malls, restaurants, and food courts are closed. Most of the supermarkets are closed and the ones that open do not carry fresh ingredients, if they haven’t sold out.

To prepare for the city shutdown, we did some stock up few days before. It’s not a good idea to stock up 1-2 days before the new year as the only ingredients remaining are the left-overs and usually in bad quality.

For this period, I have planned few dishes for the menu. Steamed fish is a must-have dish for new year. Because in Chinese, fish symbolizes the hope that the coming year would be more than this year. For the steamed-fish, my wife bought sea-bass fish. Unfortunately, she forgot to ask the staff to clean the scale and the fish innards. So, I had to clean the scales with paring knife. After cleaning the fish, the next challenge is to clean the innards. I tried to open up the belly and pull out the innards. But, I still couldn’t do it right. Luckily, there’s youtube. How the world was before youtube, gosh …

Steamed Fish

Steaming  the fish is actually a simple affair. Plenty of recipes in the internet. The key is to throw away all the aromatics (gingers/scallion) and any liquid after steaming and replace with new aromatics. This time I pour hot-oil to fish and it does help to give sizzling effect and slight cook the aromatics.

Another dish I made was sichuan tofu, inspired from Every Grain of Rice. From this recipe book, I have learnt so much that tofu can actually be very delicious and exciting.

2014-01-31 13.20.05

 

And … that’s part 1 of my Chinese New Year cooking.

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