Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Chinese New Year: Reunion Dinner


The most important meal in the Chinese year is the New Year's Eve dinner.  It is also called the Reunion Dinner because it is customary for Chinese people, regardless of how far away they are from their hometowns, to travel home to have this important meal with their family.  It is very similar to the concept of Christmas Lunch in England.

In ancient China and even some families in the rural areas where the tradition of many generations of the same family still live together or in the same village, the Reunion Dinner can mean a meal for up to 60 people.  It is always a time for feasting and togetherness.


I consulted the following book for recipe ideas.

Due to our dietary restrictions I have had to make certain improvisions and substitutions, so the dishes we had are not authentic Chinese dishes, but it's the best we can have while adhering to our food restrictions.

The dishes we had were:
1.  Boiled Thai Jasmine Rice

2.  Chicken with Lemon Sauce

  • 550g chicken breast meat
  • 2 chicken eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3.5 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 500ml extra virgin olive oil for deep-frying
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 200ml honey
  • Slices of fresh lemon to garnish

  1. Trim the chicken breasts, coat with egg and tapioca flour and deep-fry in hot oil, until golen.  Remove and drain.
  2. Cut each breast into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a hot serving plate.
  3. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan and mix in the lemon juice and honey, blend well and pour evenly over the chicken.  Garnish with lemon slices and serve hot.

3.  Five-Treasure Soup

  • 700ml stock
  • 55g chicken meat, thinly shredded
  • 55g lamb fillet, thinly shredded
  • 55g bamboo shoots, thinly shredded
  • 55g kale, thinly shredded
  • 1.5 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 chicken eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour mixed with an equal amount of water
  • finely chopped spring onion to garnish

  1. Bring the stock to a rolling boil, add the chicken and lamb, stir to separate, then add bamboo shoots, kale, and sea salt.  Bring back to the boil and pour in the eggs.
  2. Thicken the soup with the tapioca flour and water mixture.  Cook for a further 1 minute.  Ad just the seasoning , garnish with spring onions and serve hot.

4.  Roast Duck with Stuffing

  • 1 duck
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 115g glutinous rice
  • giblets of duck
  • 55g bamboo shoots
  • 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

  1. Rub the duck skin with the sea salt.
  2. Soak the rice in 175ml boiling water for 25 minutes.  Boil the giblets gently in water for 15 minutes and dice, along with bamboo shoots.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the giblets, bamboo shoots, and spring onions for 1 minute.  Mix in the sea salt, the rice and its soaking water and sea salt.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.  Pack the stuffing into the duck cavity and close up the tail opening.  Place the duck in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 degrees Celcius and cook for a further 45 minutes.
  5. To serve, scrape out the stuffing and spread out on a platter, chop the duck into bite-sized pieces and arrange neatly on top of the stuffing.

5.  Red-Cooked Shoulder of Lamb

  • Half leg of lamb
  • 5 spring onions
  • 4 slices of fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 115g of honey

  1. Make sure the lamb skin is free of bristles and then score the rind and meat with a few cuts.
  2. Place the meat with the spring onions and ginger in a large saucepan.  Cover with cold water and bring to the boil rapidly, skimming constantly.  Add the sea salt, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the meat over, add the honey, cover and continue cooking for about 1.5 hours.  Now reduce the liquid by boiling rapidly, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, lift out the meat and place on a deep serving dish.  Discard the ginger and spring onions and pour the liquid over the lamb.  The meat should be tender enough to tear into shreds with chopsticks.

6.  Braised Chinese Vegetables

  • 115g bamboo shoots
  • 115g mangetout
  • 225g Chinese leaves
  • 115g beansprouts
  • 1 red pepper, cored and deseeded
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • sesame oil to garnish

  1. Roughly dice the fresh vegetables.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok, add the bamboo shoots, followed by mangetout and Chinese leaves about 1 minute later.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.  Now add sea salt and honey, and a little water if necessary.  Continue stirring for a further 1 minute or so, then add the sesame oil.  Serve hot or cold.

This post is linked up to:
  1. Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #12
  2. Hip Homeschool Hop (2/4/14)
  3. History and Geography Meme: China activities for elementary
  4. Entertaining and Educational - Chinese Paper Cutting
  5. Collage Friday: Interest-led Learning Within a Classical Framework
  6. Weekly Wrap-up: The One Where We Kept a Baby and Still Got Stuff Done
  7. The Homeschool Mother's Journal {February 8, 2014}
  8. Chinese Activities Link Up 


  1. Looks like a delicious reunion dinner!! Thanks for including the recipes, I may have to try the lemon chicken :)

    1. You're welcome, Marie! Very good choice on your part to try the lemon chicken -- the boys loved it! :-)

  2. I wish my husband was a fan of fruit in meat dishes. I love lemon chicken and things like that, and sadly Jeff does not.

    1. I know how that is, Ticia. :-) My husband doesn't always like what I cook, especially when I cook dishes that are foreign to him, but luckily I have been able to get away with experimenting from time to time. :-)

  3. Oh man, now I am hungry! I think I could eat Chinese for any meal of the day! Happy belated new Year!

    1. Thank you, Melissa. Chinese food is indeed quite delicious, as is any other cuisine at their best. :-)

  4. Lemon Chicken is one of my favorite dishes. I loved getting it when I went to China.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...