Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Now I could say that to welcome the year of the snake me and the family went out to Chinatown, had an epic meal of dim sum and other sweet treats and watched the dragon dancing in Trafalgar Square.

Alas I may have to bore you a little bit and admit that we spent Chinese New Year at home (mainly because on Sundays my younger siblings have to go to Chinese school and weekend tutoring).

My old housemate from university was quite perplexed when she phoned me up and asking what I was doing at that moment on Sunday and had to admit that I was actually ironing school uniforms.

But anyway, the family lunch (tuen yuen fan), was a simple meal; mussels steamed with garlic and ginger for starters and for mains deep fried king prawns with sweet and sour sauce, steamed salmon with blackbean sauce, roast duck and kai lan (it’s a type of vegetable by the way). To end the meal we had lotus root and water chestnuts soup.

Whilst our Chinese New Year was something of an understated and simple affair it doesn’t detract from it being that time of year for family.

Food for Thought – Steamed Salmon with Lemon

Like many Hong Kongers I am a fan of seafood, and a quick and easy way of preparing seafood is by steaming it.

This week whilst my sister revised for her A-level mock exams I was entrusted to cook dinner, which is something of a rare occurence in my house. Fortunately mum left out some salmon, so the logical thing to do was to steam it.

This is very easy to make, for ingredients all you need is salmon, lemon slices, and water. Equipment you will need a wok (or a pot), a lid large enough to cover the the wok, a metal cooking stand (pictured below) and a plate.

This meal is best served with rice.

First is to clean the fish steaks and then lay them on a plate. Slice however many slices of lemon you want and lay them on top of the steaks. I decided to twist my lemon slices just because I fancied being a little bit creative, but leaving them flat is fine.

Put the stand in the wok and then fill it with about one-two cups of water and heat up the wok. Put the plate on the stand, cover it up with the lid and leave to steam for 10-15 minutes.

The fish should have a kind of lemony fish oil, don’t let it go to waste, instead use the sauce and mix it with your rice to give it a bit of flavour. This was the kind of thing my parents would make me and my siblings do before exams, they would just pile on any fish oils into our rice in the hope that we would get loads of As in our exams.

You can apply this technique to all fishes but how long you leave it to steam can vary. I once left cod with ginger in for 15 minutes and it came out as overcooked, my nan explained I only needed to leave it in for five. So if you’re making this for the first time try checking every five minutes to see how long you will need to leave it in for.

Alternatively you can spoon some black beans on top, but lemon is a cheaper alternative.