Celebrating Chinese New Year (Part 1 of 2)

Kiong Hi Hoat Chai! Believed to be the most important traditional festivity, Chinese New Year is often times well celebrated anywhere in the world where Chinese community abounds. It is generally the tradition that speaks of the Chinese culture and beliefs about the coming year. Food, gifts, money and a lot more are generously poured out. This is pretty much how we keep Christmas in the Philippines. Oranges, flowers along with other popular decorations are the typical icons of the celebration. Each has its own symbolism that can be related to prosperity, luck, longevity and happiness.
It's a lucky chance to be experiencing this kind of festival the first time. We visited Chinatown and Clarke Quay (among the popular spots during CNY) to view some fanfare and spectacles. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the large cluster of people we were not able to view any. At home, we celebrated it plainly with food (a far cry from any of the traditional Chinese repertoire). But the real essence of which was actually finding the right time to get back to what I love to do - cooking! Pardon the food shots, my kitchen is still limited at the moment. I've yet to snag a couple of household stuffs to make my food plating more enticing.
A friend came over and we ate sumptuously of these fare...

Pan-fried Salmon with Cream Sauce
How to prepare: Season salmon with salt and cracked black pepper corns. Pan fry in canola oil for 2 - 3 minutes until it's cooked. Melt about 30 g butter in a pan. Add 250 ml full cream milk and 1/2 of chicken stock cube. Allow to boil and simmer until the sauce thickens. Don't forget to stir continuously.
Tofu Asparagus
How to prepare: Cut tofu into small squares, coat with corn flour and egg then fry until it turns slightly brown. Set aside. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsps olive oil until fragrant. Add 250 g boneless chicken (cut into cubes), stir- fry until it turns brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1/2 cup of water, 2 small packs of golden noodle mushroom (enokitake) and 250 g asparagus. Simmer and cook until the vegetables are done. Stir in fried tofu and mix well.

Shrimps Broccoli
How to prepare: Blanch broccoli flowers in boiling water for 1 minute. Dip in cold water to preserve the crispiness of the veggie. Set aside. Saute minced garlic in 2 tbsps olive oil until fragrant. Add in shrimps and cook until it turns red. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked broccoli and mix well ( 1/2 a cup of water maybe added if you prefer a slightly saucy version).

Chili Garlic Shrimps
How to prepare: Melt about 30 g butter in a hot pan. Saute garlic and shrimps until fragrant and red respectively. Add in 2 tbsps soy sauce, 1 tbsp chili-garlic sauce, 1/2 cup water and 1 tbsp sugar. Cook until shrimps are done.

Chocolate Cookie Burger A la Mode
How to prepare: Sandwich one scoop of choco nut ice cream in two soft type chocolate cookies. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Finish with stawberry and Ferrero Rocher. Yum!

May we all have a prosperous banquet in the year of the Tiger!

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