How to Use Your Chinese New Year Leftovers

After a big festival or party like Thanksgiving or Chinese New Year, there are usually leftovers. If you cooked a feast for the Chinese New Year or had a caterer in Singapore prepare lots of food for you and your guests, you probably have leftovers from those dishes, as well as extra ingredients cluttering up your refrigerator. Here’s how to clear out some of the delicious excess of the New Year so that you can start fresh.

Mandarin Orange Sorbet

Round and golden, mandarin oranges have come to represent wealth among the people of Singapore, China, and Malaysia. During the Chinese New Year, you probably presented bowls and baskets of these luscious fruits for your guests; but they probably were not all eaten up. Instead of letting the sweet oranges go to waste, whip up a tasty, refreshing mandarin sorbet.

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Strain the juice of the mandarin oranges through a fine sieve. Take some shavings from the orange peels while you’re at it and place those in a pot with about 300ml of water and 100g of caster sugar. Simmer the contents of the pot for a while until the sugar dissolves completely and turns the mixture into a sweet orange-flavoured syrup. Pick out the orange peels from the syrup and stir in the orange juice that you strained earlier. Pour everything into a shallow tray and place it in the freezer. Once it freezes, take it out, chop it into frozen chunks, and whirl the chunks around in a food processor for a while. Freeze it again, then process it again. Once you get a lovely, smooth mixture, freeze it completely. About 15 minutes before serving the dessert, put the tray in your refrigerator to thaw the sorbet a little. Add some curly orange peels and a mint leaf or two to each round scoop of mandarin orange sorbet.

Eight Treasures Porridge

The number eight is a significant one for many reasons, and it takes on special meaning on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. This is the Chinese Laba Festival, and on this day, people in Singapore or the surrounding areas often eat Laba Congee or Eight Treasures Porridge. This traditional celebratory dish has a very practical reason behind it— it is an excellent way to use up the leftovers from the steamboat dishes served during the Chinese New Year. The ingredients in Eight Treasures Porridge may vary depending on what you have on hand.

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Although this porridge or stew originally had just eight ingredients, modern cooks typically incorporate as many ingredients as they like. One way to make the dish is with chicken broth, long grain rice, carrots, sliced meat, clams, cabbage, fish maw, shiitake mushrooms, prawns, and canned gingko nuts, with spring onions and shredded ginger for garnish. Another recipe calls for sorghum rice, barley, longans, kidney beans, oats, millet, peanuts, black rice, and mung beans, with extra flavour coming from ingredients such as red dates, Chinese yams, wolfberry, raisins, or lotus.

Braised Fish Maw with Mushrooms

 

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Do you have any raw fish or fish maw left over from Peng Cai, and vegetables on hand that you didn’t use for other New Year dishes? Use them all up by creating tasty braised fish maw with vegetables. You can make this dish with mushrooms and fish maw alone, or add in whatever other vegetables you find in the fridge. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for a couple of minutes, shove them into ice water, then place them or your serving dish. With abalone sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken broth, boil a braising sauce and put in the fish maw along with ginger. After several minutes of simmering, the fish is ready. Add it to the plate, thicken the sauce with cornstarch, and then drizzle the sauce over the fish and vegetables as a finishing touch.

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