Nian Gao Part 2

Hi there!

Am sure some of you have tried to make nian gao using my recipe I posted last year’s CNY. Well, I’ve made some updates – trial and error to make the steps more accurate. So feel free to try. I am here to share some of the latest nian gao I made for my family and friends this year!

Medium sized fish

Big fishes!

Cute little gold fishes!

I got the fish moulds from the bakery shop. They are made of plastic. You may reuse the mould after steaming. Ensure the fishes are cool down at least 20 minutes before toppling them over into a plastic container, greased with vegetable or olive oil. Ensure you grease the bottom of the fish too before toppling them over. For the eyes, I used black beans. Ensure you select black beans of the same sizes! Otherwise, your fishes will have uneven eyes! Haha! Also, ensure when you are steaming, your mould do not tip or was placed on uneven surface.. you might ended with Siamese twins fish if the dough was spilt over!

Happy Jade Emperor’s Festival!

Chinese New Year Week

I guess most of us are still reeling from overeating this Chinese New Year! If possible, I think I would just like to lie down on my bed throughout the week. Was rather busy since last Friday, preparing for the Chinese New Year. I’ve been given the most important tasks this CNY – to make nin gou and fatt gou! Haha. My mom and sis were teasing me like how Sasha and Lok Lok once fret – the duo said to my sister, she cannot die because nobody else would help them to sort out their school bags before going to school. Hahahah! So now, it’s like, I must not die because I am the only one at home knew how to make nin gou and fatt gou. It was pretty hilarious! Sorry for saying the "D" word during this auspicious week!

As we were preparing for CNY, we received a bad news about our colleague, a pool driver on the eve of CNY. He got into an accident in the morning before CNY and has been in coma ever since. We went to visit him but didn’t get to see him as he was placed in ICU. It has been the 6th day he was unconscious. They did a few surgeries on him to reduce the swelling in his brain. Please, readers, help to pray for Mr Gobinathan so that he would wake up and heals smoothly.

We honored the first day of CNY by going vegetarian. It has been a family tradition. I don’t remember since when we started taking vegetarian on first day of CNY but I guess it’s good. We also observe vegetarian do on every nine emperor’s festival yearly for the whole 9 days. I hope we could continue doing this.

Mom is again the main cook for this year with cousin brother helping her out. Since my skin is rather allergic to all kinds of detergent, I couldn’t help out at the kitchen. The skin on my fingers suffered from itchiness and redness after making nin gou as I kept washing my hands with detergent when I was in a hurry.. shouldn’t have done that. So, the week was spent only doing light house chores and ensure that I use gloves when touching detergent.

Yesterday, our neighbour hired lion dance troupe to bring luck to their house. Other neighbours flocked along to check out the auspicious occasion. This is probably Ern Ern’s first lion dance. She too has a small lion we got from hampers and dancing it along to the beat of the drums. The best part was, I noticed there were many young children in the troupe, playing the drums and gongs! It’s motivating to see children participate in enriching and preserving cultures. And to our surprise, they were little Indian children! Haha. Talk about muhibbah! We don’t need our government to tell us how we should mingle. We have been having this harmonious relationship for so long and yet, some people need to use the racial card to divide us!

I hope your CNY has been great so far. I kinda loathe eating too much left overs. Luckily this year, we didn’t overcook. So everything was fine. We try to have as many simple meals as possible as I told my mom, it’s not necessary to go extravagant. Moderation is key.

There is Hope!

Read this in the newspapers today.

Shangri-La stops serving shark fin

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting today, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will cease serving shark fin in all its restaurants.

The hotel group will also decline orders for shark fin on the menu for banquets.

Shangri-La KL area director of communications Rosemarie Wee said several of Shangri-La’s hotels had already taken shark fin off their menus since December 2010.

“Now, all 72 of our hotels have made this commitment to save the sharks,” Wee said.

“The process was gradual as we had to make sure the logistics were in place and we could reduce and eliminate stock. Sustainability has always been at the forefront of our corporate social responsibility efforts.

“Shark fin has been a traditional staple at dinners and weddings, but the younger generation is not keen on consuming it any more.

“In fact, there have been requests not to have shark fin on the menu. In the last few years, demand for shark fin has dropped,” she said.

However, Wee said banquet bookings that included shark fin made before today would be honoured.

Shangri-La will also phase out bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass in all its operated restaurants within this year. The hotel chain will introduce alternatives to shark fin, such as bamboo fungus, lily bulbs, American ginseng, snow fungus, sea whelks and shimeiji mushrooms.

Shangri-La’s Sustainable Seafood Policy is part of its “Sanctuary, Shangri-La’s Care for Nature” project, an initiative for consistency in biodiversity, conservation and habitat protection across all its resorts.

It includes the development of marine sanctuaries for the protection of reefs and marine life.

Studies have shown that the number of certain species of sharks has been reduced by 95% since the 1970s due to indiscriminate slaughter.

Finally.. there is hope! All hail to Mr Robert Kuok!

Wishing you people, Gong hei fatt choi! Happy Dragon Year 2012! May happiness, good health, abundant wealth and great love follow you wherever you go!

Election is Coming!

I got home from work today and was watering the wilting plants, when a group of three approached my house gate. There were two women and a young man. They asked for my aunt, then my uncle, my mom and dad. They said they were from MCA and were here to give away some angpows for the senior citizens.

I quickly went inside my house to get the old folks. Somehow, nobody was home! This is very unlikely! All of them went out at the same time! There is usually people in my house!

I told the MCA people and thought they would just leave and come another time. Instead, they said, they will leave the cheques with me and asked me to sign on their behalf.  I was elated to find the cheques of Rm100 each in my parents and relatives’ names. The MCA lady explained to me that, my folks were registered with MCA, hence the special angpows. In the end, after all that, they asked for a photo to be taken. Shit! I was in my hideous polka dot uniform! I hope they don’t publish that hideous photo with me forcing a grin because I was too worried to be seen in my polka dot uniform in some country wide campaign! Shit!!! If you see a sotong smiling ear to ear, in polka dot uniform – that’s the idiotic me!

Then, towards the evening, I went out with some colleagues and family for late dinner (actually it’s almost supper time!) when we saw a group of people holding PKR banners walking by. Our Selayang MP, William Leong was distributing Mandarin oranges to the public! Goodness! Haha! All happened within one day! So people, be prepared! I believe election is just round the corner!

Bloody Dream

I had a vivid dream during my afternoon nap yesterday. I was drifting in and out of sleep with many scattered dreams – if I remember correctly, I was at a concert and walking about at some European city, etc. when suddenly, images of slain men in prussian blue boxers lying on a slow moving truck trailer appeared. They were all bearded men and they all looked alike! Even the positions of their limbs lying on the trailer were identical, except they were laid a little haphazardly.

I was looking at the trailer from a bird’s eye view. As the trailer was moving along, I saw more dead bodies but this time, I saw their hearts were all hanging out from their bodies. As if they knew I was curious and asking, “Why?”, a voice in my head said to me, “This is to make sure that they are dead!”.

A whiff of zinc pierced my nostrils, I knew for sure it was the smell of blood. There was a man mopping up the blood on the trailer’s floor with two more other people, seen cutting open the corpses’ chest to lay out the hearts, as if they were butchering some dead cattle. Then, they looked up, at me. Their stares sent chills to my spine. I felt suffocated and I woke up, breaking in hot, afternoon sweat.