Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reunion Dinner II

Our second reunion dinner was at my in-laws' on the 1st day of CNY. MIL, being Shanghainese, does not follow the Cantonese belief for symbolic dishes. No fatt choy or lettuce, which is good because we get to eat completely different dishes. MIL is a very good cook, a perfectionist who will fry, then simmer her Shanghainese 'red-cooked' dishes whereas I, forever taking short cuts, will skip a step here or there and never come up with dishes as good as hers. The only thing I don't compromise though is the quality of the ingredients.

This is one of the most famous and delicious Shanghainese soup called yin doo xin (I think) meaning cured and fresh meat soup, referring to the mixture of Chinese ham, salty pork (xien rou, which is not as strongly flavored as ham) and fresh pork bones used to make the stock. Other ingredients are fresh winter bamboo shoots (ours was brought in from Shanghai), and fresh bean curd sheets called bai ye (also brought in from Shanghai, lucky us) which are tied into knots. Bai ye is not available here or even in KL I think. I used to bring them in from Hong Kong but they go sour easily.

The Shanghainese are especially good at braising and stewing meat in soy sauce, a method called 'red-cooking'. MIL is so good at making loh mei, a red-cooked dish of beef shins, pork stomach, tongue, bean curd cakes and eggs that some of my friends who have tasted it before still talk to me about it. Note: to cut eggs as perfectly as that, with yolks intact, MIL uses thread. If you use a knife, the yolks will break up, fall out and some will stick to the knife.

These are large prawns butterflied, seasoned and dipped in cornflour and deep-fried in very hot oil until the shell is crispy and edible. Very yummy.

Sweet and sour black pomfret with a too-thick blanket of sauce. My fault, I cooked this.

Hakka-style stuffed tofu, a dish from Hub's SIL's aunt. The meat filling was very smooth and springy.

Every time we eat braised pork leg in restaurants, we'll end up saying "Nobody cooks it better than Ma." This is not a prejudiced exaggeration. The flavor is strong and just perfect and the pork tender because she steams it for 3 hours or more.

Another of her specialty: stir-fried celery, water chestnuts, button mushrooms, carrots, fresh baby corn and diced chicken. Anyone can do a stir-fry, but it takes a very good cook to make it perfectly blended in flavor and texture, and MIL gets an A+ for this.

I dared cook drunken chicken for a Shanghainese family. The relatives visiting from Shanghai said they loved it and were impressed that I could prepare it from scratch because in Shanghai, everybody uses packets of ready mix.

Ma's tang sui is a refreshing drink of gingko nuts, dried longans, red dates and lotus seeds.

Also in the pic, braised Japanese dried shiitake mushrooms (very smooth and tender) and stewed bamboo and pork, from MIL's best friend Chin Aunty. Everything Chin Aunty cooks tastes better than the restaurants. And that's another CNY dinner.


Precious Pea said...

What a wonderful feast! Everything looks good. Lucky you!

Shan said...

Some really unique dishes here. And the prawns sound good, must try. Terri do you have a good stewed pork recipe?

red | hongyi said...


This is making me miss home like mad! And ohhhh I miss those CNY food...

the first pic is making me salivate. Can almost smell the chinese ham

Hazza said...

YOu sure this was not taken from a top class restaurant?? ;) All I can say is ... WOW!!! I am so jealous!

Anonymous said...

muffinman: both your CNY reunion food looks top class. so bless to enjoy food like that.

i've question on your shaorou:
i've tried this recipe 4 or 5 times now, but everytime i worry that the skin will not puff.
was wondering what makes the skin puff, the vinegar, salt of the heat? sometimes part of my shaorou's skin will puff, sometimes part of it does not. sometimes it does not puff all. your shaorou really looks professional...everytime i make mine, i have to pray that it turns out good. please help.

jimctang said...

looks great. it can be even better, if sitting in front of the dishes and having finger tips ready
.... to trigger the camera.

well after cooked that many dishes, the cooker normally sit in the second row of the table if any. do you

ekeng said...

i'm feeling sad when i saw this post..cos i can't go back to have reunion dinner with my family..i still have to work on CNY..yes..First day and Second day of CNY...sob sob ;(

Anonymous said...

Gong xi, gong xi, my friend. The food looks soooooo good. The soup looks unique. I have not seen something like that before.

yammylicious said...

Gong Hei Fatt Choi!! =)
awww look so delicious! my mouth so watering now!

Anonymous said...

wow whole family of fab cooks. luckily my MIL is not that much of a superb cook. she is good and her dishes are generally very light and refreshing. yours look like a restaurant.

looking at all those yummy food makes me feel hungry..not even eleven am yet.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

precious: at last, a pic of them both (so CUTE). i always thot it unfair tt only pea was in ur blog pic.:)

shan: yes, i do n i'll come to it soon, ok! hey, Charming Rest. is Szechuan Rest. long ago. they aren't good anymore (used to be good) but then d late time i ate there was 2 yrs ago.

yi: yes, we miss u too but i try not to think of u during CNY..

hazza:wah, thanks, i take tt as a compliment!

muffinman: it's all 3, the vinegar, the salt and the heat! tell u d truth, tt was my first try so i don't know how it'll turn out next try. u're prob more expert at it :)

jim: not sure what u mean about 2nd row...

ekeng: aiya, kaijai, i had an angpow ready but u were working??

raina: hey, gong xi fa cai dear! hmm, someday i hope to cook it for u girls :)

yammy: tt's d wonder of pics - everything looks good only bc we can control what we want ppl to see :)

nee: hey, ur pineapple tarts deserve an award!! thanks again. i really want to come visit u in April with Linda. see if i can get a cheap ticket. want to meet up with ck n wombok too, to get some photo lessons frm them :D

ekeng said...

nvm la..u keep it for me..i will take from u when i go back KK..haha..

Anyway,can u email your contact number to my email..will look for you and denise for dinner when i go back KK.

my email is

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ekeng: ok,will do. i want to c how liang jai kai jai is, bc i read somewhere tt u were voted 'most handsome blogger'!

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