Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, Year of the Ox. In my family we celebrate Tet, which is Vietnamese New Year. Usually, my mom gets a half roasted pig (with head and tail still intact) and invites her whole family over to chow down of dozens of Vietnamese traditional foods.

I remember as a kid we would taunt the pig head. My brother usually started the mischief. We'd poke at it when no one was looking, except Buddha and of course the deceased ancestors, they were always watching. My mom always served them first and we would have to wait for what seemed like an eternity before we could dig into the food, which was usually cold by the time we were allowed to eat.

I loved New Year growing up. Not only did usually I get a generous amount of money in my Ang Pao, but I love the lantern festival, fiesty lion dance and especially all the yummy foods and desserts. New Year in Singapore was especially festive, and it is one thing that I'd love for my kids to experience one day.

Now that I have a family of my own and since we don't live near my mom, we usually celebrate the New Year with a simple meal in Chinatown. But it was way too cold today to venture out (the temps started in the -7 today, with the wind chill). Plus, Matt and I have had the stomach flu for a few days and I wasn't up for greasy dim sum.

I started to feel a little better late morning and decided to make some shrimp wonton soup, a mini celebration of Chinese cuisine. I have never made wontons before (yeah, you can take away my Asian Girl Card) so it was a fun learning experience.

I used a recipe from an old cookbook I "borrowed" from my mom's house many years ago when I first moved away from home. I was excited to find that the cookbook is now considered a collector's item. Shh, don't tell my mom. She definitely isn't getting the book back now.

The stock for the soup is very basic, even still, I was not able to find some of the ingredients. When I asked the butcher at my grocery store for beef bones and pork spareribs he looked at me like I was from another planet. "Try the Mexican grocery store" he told me. I ended up making a quasi chicken soup stock, throwing some bacon in there for some pork flavoring.

The start of a basic stock.

The shrimp filling, on store bought wonton wrappers. My mom made her wrappers from scratch. She would spend all day rolling out the dough and her sister would help her fill and fold the wontons.

A plate of wontons ready to be cooked. I hope they don't fall apart!

When you first put them in they sink to the bottom.

Once they float to the top, they are ready to be fished out.

Look mom, they didn't fall apart!

A bowl of shrimp wonton soup with egg noodles, bok choy and mushrooms. The only thing it needed was a touch of Chinese vinegar and possibly some fresh Serrano peppers.

I also pan fried a few wontons.

And served them with some sweet chili sauce.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope it is a healthy and prosperous one for you with lots of yummy eats!

Bonus photos: Yours truly in my traditional Ao Dai dress.


Lisa said...

What a great celebation! wonderful! Wow. Love the pictures! I'm heading to the city on Monday. I'll look for you out of E.C.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I love the pictures. I think I see someone got their finger in the pic. Gotta love that. I am enjoying your blog.


QGIRL said...

Malia, growing up I always fancied that the thumb in the photo was the sun and that I was actually standing next to the sun. I was a strange kid.