Meal of fortune
Luck out with Ching-He Huang's colourful Chinese New Year celebration banquet
First published in Feb 07 issue of Olive magazine, this month's issue on sale now. Subscribe now and save.
Recipes: Ching-He Huang
Photographs: Myles New
You might recognise Ching-He Huang from her appearances on BBC One's Saturday Kitchen as well as in her own series, Ching's Kitchen, on UKTV Food. Her passion for creating simple but stylish Chinese food means celebrations are always a mix of traditional and modern. 'For Chinese New Year (26 January) I like to keep the philosophy and meanings behind traditional recipes but update them a little,' she says.
'During the festive season, food is served in large dishes all at once to allow everyone to share. Here the starters are shared but then there is an individual fish dish for everyone. All the dishes should be served on round plates to symbolise unity and completeness - perfect, like the sun or moon. You can make most of this menu in advance. Just fry the prawns and cook the fish at the last minute.'
Lychee and mandarin mojito
Prawns with chilli jam
Peking duck pancakes
Lamb and chilli bamboo shoots in little gem leaves
Halibut with sesame soy sauce and buckwheat noodles
Mango ice cream with raspberry coulis
Mandarins or oranges are eaten at New Year as the colour symbolises gold and wealth. The raspberry adds redness - the luckiest colour according to the Chinese.
Mint leaves from a large bunch
Limes 2, cut into 8 wedges each
Frozen raspberries 125g, defrosted
Lychees 24, about 300g, fresh or tinned
Caster sugar 8 tbsp
Ice cubes 2 good handfuls
White rum 240ml
Soda water 1.5 litres
Mandarins 2, segmented
Chill 8 tall cocktail glasses in the fridge. Put most of the mint leaves, the lime wedges, raspberries and lychees in a large measuring jug, add the sugar and use a rolling pin to muddle (gently squash) the ingredients together. Add the ice cubes and pour the rum over. Slowly add the soda water and stir well. Divide the cocktail between the glasses, making sure that each glass has a couple of ice cubes and a lime wedge, and decorate with extra mint leaves and mandarin segments. Makes 8
This gold and red dish keeps all the colours of the festivities. Make your own chilli jam or use shop-bought, if you prefer.The potato flour will make a crisper batter - look for it in health food or Asian shops.
Raw tiger prawns 24, peeled and cleaned, tails left on
Ground white pepper a pinch
Eggs 2, beaten
Potato flour or cornflour 100g
Groundnut oil for frying
Coriander leaves a handful to serve for the chilli jam
Granulated sugar 5 tbsp
Red chillies 2 medium, chopped
To make the chilli jam, bring 100ml water to the boil, add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the chillies and boil for 5 minutes, cool slightly then pour into a blender and blitz. Transfer to a dipping bowl and set aside. The sauce will thicken and become jammy once cooled.
Season the prawns with salt and white pepper. Combine the egg and potato flour in a bowl to make a batter.
Heat a wok or pan ¼ full with groundnut oil. Dip each prawn in the batter and fry a few at a time (don't crowd the pan) until the batter turns golden. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with the chilli jam. Serves 8