On New Year’s Day, Jac and VR came home from Dunsborough. I’d enjoyed my time alone but I’d really missed Jac, so I was chuffed to see them. That evening Jac and I went to my folks’ for dinner (VR was invited but was too tired and I suspect, rather ooged out from all the festive socialising (I hope you don’t mind me using your word, Jen!) and decided not to accompany us). Auntie T. (who marinated those delicious kangaroo kebabs for satay night) had already bought ingredients galore and had been planning to cook up a storm, but sadly, she and Uncle S. had to return to Malaysia due to a sudden family bereavement. Rather than cancel dinner, Mum decided she would take charge of the ingredients and create her own storm.
This was cooked abalone – it had been braised (I think) in soy sauce, which is why it’s so brown and dark. This year my Dad paid the required $38 for a recreational fishing abalone licence and these were the abalone he caught. Abalone are considered a great delicacy, especially among the Chinese. I don’t mind it, but I’m quite indifferent to abalone – I can take it or leave it, which is probably a good thing as they are very expensive. Due to irresponsible and greedy fishos in past years, abalone fishing (well, technically, you don’t fish for them – you flick/prise them off rocks) is managed under very strict regulations, and abalone season is extremely short – this year, the season was 7am to 8am on Sundays only from the 5th November to 10th December (six Sundays in total), with strict size and bag limits.
My Auntie S. (an actual Auntie, this time, my mum’s younger sister) sliced the cooked abalone.
The abalone had been braised with big Chinese mushrooms, and once sliced, it was returned to the dish with the mushrooms. Jac hadn’t eaten abalone before, and quite liked it. She said it was very mushroomy in texture (I agree, it has a certain rubbery-ness to it, rather like mushrooms).
Mum had also boiled up a chicken, Singapore chicken rice-style (but we didn’t have chicken rice, just the chicken, garnished with sliced cucumbers). This is the cooked chicken before Auntie S. rubbed it all over with fragrant sesame oil, and then chopped it into pieces for serving.
My brother, who has the nickname Chicken Boy, was very pleased indeed to see this big plate of chicken.
There was also a dish of fried cabbage, which had sambal belacan through it, so it was spicy and stinky (and of course, gooood).
The centrepiece was a big dish of yee mee. The dish uses crispy fried thin egg noodles, which is served with an eggy sauce/gravy. Here are the noodles:
Mum cooked the sauce/gravy in the wok on the barbecue. Here, she’s stir-frying the pieces of pork, sliced Chinese mushrooms and Chinese cabbage before adding liquid (I think chicken stock as well as oyster sauce, and beaten eggs).
And here’s the wok with the liquids added. Now it’s a sauce/gravy!
While waiting for the noodles to be ready, we munched on these gigantic fish keropok (fish crackers, like prawn crackers, but made from fish instead). Mum didn’t make these from scratch – I think they were bought from a shop in dried cracker form and then deepfried.
This photo shows the sauce/gravy being combined with the noodles.
Yeah, it was a rather huge amount of noodles in a rather large dish. But there were quite a few of us there, some with very hearty appetites.
Mum had also made this dish called “lemak” , or “sayur lemak” – Mum’s version has green beans and cabbage cooked in the coconut milk and chilli.
Another view of the yee mee before we dug in.
We also had a dish of pickled green chilli to eat with the yee mee.
But wait, there’s more! Sweet and sour pork…
…and beef rendang
The yee mee was tossed so that the sauce and yummy chunky bits were mixed through with the noodles… and then we loaded up our plates and dug in. Here’s my plate.
This was some sort of dried fried fish thingy which we ate dipped in the lemak sauce. Yeah, I realise I’ve been slack with providing details this time – sorry. I was very tired at the time – and I’m still tired. Anyway, these fish thingies were very crispy and salty. A little piece went a long way.
For dessert, Auntie S. brought an agar agar ring. Agar agar is jelly made from a certain kind of seaweed (mmm, sounds appetising! :-P If you ate it you’d just think it was some sort of gelatine-based dessert – you’d have no idea what the jelly itself had been made from i.e. there’s no hint of seaweed or sea or salt or anything!) This was very nice actually, coconutty and coffee-y.
And there were strawberries and cherries, brought by my mum’s friend M. (the same M. who made the butter cream heart-shaped cake and chocolate mousse at satay night).
Can you believe, Mum was worried there wouldn’t be enough food – and she had a moussaka all ready to go in the oven? We kids talked her out of it – “Mum, there’s heaps of food, don’t worry!” and my brother – “Besides, moussaka doesn’t quite fit with tonight’s theme!” My brother’s point was true, but Mum likes to have a moussaka or cottage pie or lasagna ready, for any dinner guests who may not be into all the Chinese fare. Anyway, we convinced Mum to put the moussaka back in the fridge and save it for another day (I knew it was the right thing to do as there really was a lot of food, but I was a little sad to see the moussaka disappear into the fridge – I love Mum’s moussaka!). Anyway, everyone had plenty to eat and no one went home hungry.
After dinner we played a number of rounds of Spoons and The Occupation Game, which always gets Mum laughing until she cries. (It’s too hard to explain the games in writing – if I ever meet any of you in person and you’re curious, just ask and I’ll explain those games then :)). A few people photos are available on Flickr, if family/friends are interested.
Happy New Year, everyone!