In early April, my family held a “full moon” celebration for the newest member of the family, my niece Zoe, the second child of my brother and my sister-in-law. Regular and long-time readers will remember the full moon celebration we held for Ruby about a year and a half ago. Zoe’s full moon followed the same format as Ruby’s, with similar a menu and timings.
For readers who may not be familiar with the full moon celebration, it is usually held when a baby is around a month old. Our celebration featured the traditional Chinese-Malaysian full moon foods: nasi kunyit (yellow rice, flavoured/coloured by tumeric) served with chicken curry; hard-boiled eggs with their shells dyed red, served with pickled ginger; and ang koo kuih (literally “red turtle cake” – don’t worry, no real turtles!). Just like Ruby’s full moon in 2007, there were two sessions – one at 10am to 12noon (family), the other at 12:30pm to 2:30pm (friends) – just to make the number of guests a little more manageable. My sisters and I helped with the serving and schmoozing, and I promised Mum I’d take on photography duties for the day. This time, Mum and Dad had friends from overseas staying with them, so Mum had two very willing and able helpers in the kitchen – Aunties T and KK helped with the preparations for the day, cooking and topping up dishes as the food was eaten. We all took turns looking after little Ruby and baby Zoe too. Family may log into Flickr to see all the photos, including food and people; the best of the food photos are featured in this post, below.
The egg is a symbol of new life, and in Chinese culture the colour red is associated with good luck, so these lucky red eggs are a must at any full moon celebration. Just like last time, the big pile of red eggs caught my eye as soon as I walked in. The eggs are served with pickled ginger.
The chicken curry was loaded with chicken pieces, potato and curry leaves. It smelled wonderful. Malaysian chicken curry is my favourite curry of all.
Chicken curry is the traditional accompaniment to the nasi kunyit, but for those not so keen on chicken (my dad, for example) and for a bit of variety, there was also a kangaroo curry. This was Jac’s favourite out of the two curries, as the kangaroo was superbly tender and flavoursome.
There were a couple of pots of nasi kunyit so there was plenty to go around. I love the flavour of this sticky yellow rice, but as a child I didn’t like the whole white peppercorns scattered throughout the rice. I’m much better at avoiding them now as an adult, but as a kid I used to chomp down on whole peppercorns without meaning to, which would burn my mouth and bring tears to my eyes!
There was a spicy chick pea dish too. I didn’t eat any of this – not sure how I managed to forget to put some on my plate – but I hear it went very well with the yellow rice too.
We did have a token stir-fried vegetable dish :-P. The first round did get eaten up, and a second serving of vegetables was quickly whipped up.
The smell of curry was fantastic. EDIT (following jetgirl’s comment): Having learned our lesson from Ruby’s full moon, this time around, the curry catering was at a… um, less “legendary” level. :) It didn’t look as impressive, but believe me, with constant replenishings, there was plenty to go around.
Here’s my plate, complete with a piece of curried chicken thigh and potatoes, kangaroo curry, yellow rice, stir-fried vegetables and a red egg. I don’t like the pickled ginger, and so there is none on my plate.
I was preoccupied with taking photos – and not just of food, I took loads of people photos throughout the day – and in the end I didn’t eat as much as I thought I would. This was round one, my only round! Most unusual, for me. :)
Auntie K, the wife of one of Mum’s work friends Uncle M, made a beautiful iced butter cake for Zoe, just as she did for Ruby’s full moon. Like her sister, Zoe has an Irish name – Ciaran. Zoe also has a Chinese name – Yee-Sum (we all have Chinese names in our family, but in our day-to-day lives, we go by our non-Chinese first names).
The ang koo kuih are made with glutinous rice flour and have a chewy, sticky, rubbery texture. The filling inside is made from yellow mung beans. I’m not a big fan of ang koo kuih, but shared one with Jac as part of the occasion.
I was more interested in the cupcakes, covered in icing and topped with sugar roses.
I didn’t eat two cupcakes! One was mine, the other was my brother-in-law M’s. He kindly lent it to me for photographic purposes. :)
The cupcakes were buttery and moist, and I could’ve eaten great slatherings of that icing. I heard a whispering that there may have been white chocolate involved. :)
This is the pot of chicken curry, freshly topped up by Auntie T with more gravy, potatoes and chicken for the second round of guests. Every time I walked past the curry pot or looked at anyone else’s plate, I felt like grabbing another plate and eating curry and nasi kunyit all over again.
As we feasted on curry and rice, Ruby ate her lunch, of ham, egg, tomato and my mum’s homemade kaya on fresh bread.
When I compare the photos from Ruby’s full moon to her most recent ones, I am amazed at how much she’s grown. This is how she looks now!
And just like her sister at her full moon, baby Zoe slept through most of the celebration, blissfully unaware of everything that was taking place in her honour. Here she is in her proud dad’s arms.
Note: I’ll be responding to your recent comments and emails this weekend – my “work life blog balance” is a little out of whack at the moment.