Gochugaru Girl invited some friends for an early Chinese New Year dinner last night.
Chinese New Year traditionally lasts for two weeks. This year it falls on 19 February. We simply decided to start celebrating (i.e. eating) a bit earlier.
No one will mind: nowadays it appears that Christmas starts at the end of August and Easter begins at the end of January.
The three families that gathered for dinner have known each other for over 20 years. We used to count adults and children but now everyone is an adult (the youngest two being 14). It is a bit tight around the dining table so it is essential to compensate by having more wine.
Dinner was: Deep-fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs, dumplings, Anniversary Chicken, beef short ribs, butternut squash in lemon-soy dressing, chargrilled broccoli and aromatic rice.
We ate a lot and we laughed a lot. The children are fabulous company and they have even started a 14-member whatsapp group, the idea being that each one of us is consulted before the next (3-family) meeting is called.
After such a fun evening, Mr Gochugaru and I had some serious cleaning to do today. This was actually a welcome opportunity to make a start on the rigorous Chinese New Year deep-clean that all Chinese families are encouraged to do once a year. No cleaning is allowed over the Chinese New Year (especially on the first two days) as it is believed that to do so would be to throw your good fortune away for the year ahead.
With so much to do we had time only for a simple lunch. There was chicken stock made with the carcasses of the Anniversary Chicken and some tinned and frozen sweetcorn, so this gave an idea for a soup.
Chicken and sweetcorn soup is a staple of many Chinese restaurants. This version relies on just the egg as a thickening agent instead of starch, and only take 10 minutes from start to finish. This recipe makes 2 – 3 servings.
I will post recipes for the other dishes over the next two weeks.
For the Soup:
400 ml chicken stock
400 g canned cream-style sweetcorn
150 g frozen sweetcorn kernels
150 g cooked chicken meat, chopped
1 spring onion, sliced finely
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 egg, beaten
Toasted sesame oil and fresh coriander for serving
How to Make:
Place the following in a pot: stock, canned sweetcorn, frozen sweetcorn, chicken, spring onion and pepper.
Bring everything to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, gently stir the soup with one hand, whilst adding in the egg with the other. The idea is for the egg to not solidify in one lump but to end up in light flakes.
Continue to heat for a further minute.
Serve immediately with a few drops of sesame oil and some chopped coriander.