Happy Chinese New Year! Full Menu

Hi!!! It’s New Years Eve!!! This year is extra special because the grandparents are here!!! In Shanghai!!! Usually, we go over to Hunan, but since it’s the one year anniversary of moving into our new house, everyone came to Shanghai to celebrate!

So… on the 13th, my grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunt and little cousin flew over from Hunan. To add to the excitement, my mom’s dad also came to join us for a few days.

Well, these special circumstances called for an extra special New Years eve dinner. We decided to stick to the classics, but added two dishes to the usual 10. Let’s Eat!

Appetizer:

Marinated Beef – This is a classic appetizer welcome on all ocassion. For the new years, my mom specially bought some of the most tendon filled, tender cut. AMAZING. The key to this is patience. A pressure cooker just won’t do.

Mincemeat Steamed Egg– This is a favorite of my cousin. Its a light, warming dish that will really wake up the appetite. The recipe is for regular steamed egg. To ensure both the meat and egg are cooked to perfection, steam the meat for 10-15min before adding the egg and reduce the liquid by about 1/3. Also, be sure to really ramp up the seasoning and use lean meat. Mushrooms and scallions are highly reccomended

Soups

Egg Dumpling Soup– This is the ultimate tradition in my dad’s family. With my uncle around,  no distance could let this dish disappear. We didn’t have my grandparent’s epic ten year old wok (with a rounded bottom), so this year, the two of them stood over a mini omelet pan folding away

Turtle soup– My Grandparents refused to come empty handed. Among the goodies was a HUGE soft shell turtle. What dish could be more fitting for new years than a “king”

Meats:

Red Braised Pork– On my mom’s side, no celebration is complete without red braised pork. The key to this dish is patience. It’s Chinese New Year, so we really put some elbow grease into this dish. The taste was worth every second

Steamed Pork Trotters– Given how crazy last year was, it’s important to start the new years off on the right foot… literally. Pig’s feet ensures that our feet are on steady ground to make great progress in the new year!

Fireball Shrimp- This is a new dish from my uncle. It’s spicy and fresh, which really helps cut through the richness of the other dishes while still providing a satisfying meaty taste.

Stir Fried (Smoked) Pork with Peppers– No Hunanese dinner is complete without at least one spicy stir fry. Normally, a nice cut of fresh pork does the trick, but my grandparents brought a few slabs of house smoked pork belly (read: 100x the flavor). The only change to the recipe would be to parboil the smoked meat.

Steamed Whole Fish- No new year’s dinner is complete without a whole steamed fish. Just remember to save the head and tail!

Veggies

Stewed Cabbage with Tofu-After all those heavy meats, it’s time to balance them out with a dose of fresh veggies. This light, comforting dish is the perfect contrast to the meaty richness

Braised Eggplant- This is a favorite on my mom’s side. Eggplant is basically a soft, succulent flavor sponge. The mince meat adds extra  texture and richness to the dish.

Fat Choy with Mushroom– Fat Choy is another obligatory new year’s dish. After all who doesn’t want to “发财 ” in the new year. Taste wise, few things can beat the fresh umami of fat choy, especially when all those fibers soak up the turtle soup

After our feast, everyone moved to the couches to relax, catchup and of course…. watch the annual CCTV New Year’s show

What a night! I hope everyone has a great Chinese New years and good luck in the Year of the Dog!!!

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