Along with luck and prosperity, we’re ushering in good taste this Chinese New Year. Here are a few auspicious dishes!
Juicy and crisp with a tangy-sweet glaze that’s finger-licking good, we won’t blame you if you go back for a second helping of crackling.
• 1 whole duck, about 2.2kg
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp white pepper
• ¼ tsp ground ginger
• 1½ Tbsp canola oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 shallots, thinly-sliced (about ½ cup)
• 3 large onions, thinly-sliced (about 4 cups)
• 6 salted plums (Koon Chun Brand)
• 1½ cups plum sauce (Koon Chun Brand)
• 1½ cups low sodium chicken stock
• 3 to 4 pieces dried orange or tangerine peel
• 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
• Remove the giblet packet from the duck, rinse both the inside and outside of the duck thoroughly, and let the water drain out. Pat the duck dry with a paper towel. Combine the salt, white pepper and ginger in a small bowl, and rub the spice mix evenly all over the duck, both outside and inside the cavity. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
• Heat 1½ tablespoons canola oil in a large Dutch oven (or other oven-safe pot with a lid) over a medium-high heat. Sear the duck on both sides until lightly browned and transfer the duck to a plate. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Add the garlic, shallots, and onions to the pot where you seared the duck. Fry for 3-5 minutes, until softened.
• Use your hands or a fork to smash the salted plums and add them to the pot. The plums can be de-stoned at this stage, or not. Also stir in the plum sauce, chicken stock, dried citrus peels, and vinegar. Mix well over a medium heat and simmer. Then, remove from the heat.
• Spoon one cup of the onion mixture into the duck cavity, using a spoon to coat the inside of the duck as best as possible. Spread some of the sauce over the outside of the duck so it’s lightly coated. With the onion mixture that’s left in the pot, spread it out evenly across the bottom of the pot and carefully place the duck on top (breast side down). Cover the pot and place into the pre-heated oven for 60 minutes.
• Take the pot out of the oven, and using a large roasting fork, carefully lift the duck up to dump the onions and liquid out of the cavity. Then carefully flip the duck so the breast is facing up. There should still be plenty of liquid at the bottom of the pan but feel free to add a bit of chicken stock if it’s looking dry.
• Cover and return to the oven for another 30 to 60 minutes depending upon how tender you like your duck. Check the duck after 30 minutes for tenderness and add more stock if the sauce is drying out. Once you’re satisfied with the tenderness, cook for another 15 minutes uncovered. Again, if there is no sauce, add in more chicken stock. Transfer the pot from the oven to the stove-top, and carefully transfer the duck to a serving plate or cutting-board for carving.
• Stir the sauce, discarding the tangerine peels and plum pits. The sauce should be a beautiful onion marmalade. Reduce the sauce over the stove-top if it’s too thin or add chicken stock to de-glaze if the sauce is too dry.
• Spoon some of the sauce and onions over the top of the duck and serve the rest of the sauce on the side.
These noodles are a staple at every Chinese New Year banquet table. We’re not sure if they’ll add years to your life, but pleasure to your taste-buds? Yes, indeed.
• 3 quarts water for pre-cooking the noodles
• 1 package Yi Mein noodles (340g dry)
• ⅛ tsp sugar
• ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
• 1 Tbsp hot water
• 2 tsp regular soy sauce
• 2 tsp dark soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
• ½ tsp sesame oil
• Freshly-ground white pepper
• 3-4 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, divided
• 3-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 225g Chinese chives, cut into 5cm long pieces, with the light and dark green parts separated
• oil 3 quarts of water in a large wok or pot to pre-cook your Yi Mein noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles and boil for no more than 3 to 4 minutes to keep them firm and chewy.
• Sample a noodle while cooking, and when it tastes closer to the uncooked side of al dente pasta, it’s ready. When the noodles are done, immediately drain and set aside.
• Dissolve the sugar and salt in 1 tablespoon of hot water, and add the regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Stir until combined.
• Heat the wok until just smoking and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter.
• Add the mushrooms and the light green parts of the chives and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
• Add the noodles and stir-fry everything for another 20 seconds.
• Spread the prepared sauce mixture evenly over the noodles, and stir-fry everything together for 1 minute, or until the soy sauce mixture is distributed evenly. Spread another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok to prevent sticking.
• Mix gently so you don’t break up the noodles.
• Add in the remaining green parts of the chives and mix until they turn bright green and the noodles are heated through. This will take 1-3 minutes, depending on if your noodles were cold or still warm when you started stir-frying, and how hot your stove and wok can get..
Tuck into these plates of good fortune this Chinese New Year
Tangyuan – (Sweet Rice Balls) – for family togetherness
Niangao – (Glutinous Rice Cake) – for a higher income or job promotion
Good Fortune Fruit – for fullness and wealth
Dumplings & Spring Rolls – for wealth