Our cookery group gathered on January 31 and, as that day was marked as the start of Chinese New Year, there was no question as to what the theme for our session would be!! Our hostess had decided on the following menu:
- Crab meat soup
- Chicken with green peppers and cashew nuts
- Sweet and sour pork
- Special fried rice
- Choi sum in oyster sauce
- Carrot salad with sesame seeds
- Aromatic and crispy duck
- Fruit salad
When we arrived two tables had been set: the kitchen table with all the ingredients and recipes we would need, and the dining table in readiness for our feast! Since this new year is the Year of the Horse, our hostess had placed a beautiful sculpture of a black lacquer horse at the centre of the dining table.
The very first task was to cut the duck in half and to get it simmering in a broth which contained all kinds of wonderful ingredients: fresh ginger, soy sauce, yellow bean paste, sherry, star anise, five spice powder, sugar and stock.
Once the duck was on the stove we ran through the menu and recipes, and decided on who would cook what. Soon everyone was busy, peeling, chopping and slicing. I had taken on the task of preparing the special fried rice, and was to help with the aromatic and crispy duck later.
You can see how much progress we were making! Of course a glass of champagne helped speed the preparations along nicely!! 🙂
Our hostess decided that we would start our meal with the crab meat soup, follow that up with all of the other dishes, except for the duck, which was to be eaten last. So that’s what we did. Here is the soup:
It was very delicious, with just the right balance of flavours and textures! Next came some more cooking; first the sweet and sour pork,
…then the special fried rice.
… and finally it was the turn of the Choi sum:
And what a feast it turned out to be!!
Each dish had a very different character, but they were all equally delicious!! We didn’t gorge ourselves too much, being mindful of the aromatic and crispy duck that was yet to come! After having been simmered until tender and left to cool, the duck halves were deep-fried to crisp the skin.
And after only about 12 minutes in the bubbling oil, the duck was ready to serve!! Our hostess thought that pancakes might be a little on the heavy side to wrap the duck in, and had opted for leaves of iceberg lettuce instead. Good move!
And here is the fruit salad to end our New Year’s feast!!