Eat­ing Lu­nar-cy

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE - By IVY SOON

I LOVE Chi­nese New Year and look for­ward to gath­er­ings with my fam­ily and rel­a­tives. Aunts, un­cles, sib­lings, nieces and neph­ews will start ar­riv­ing at my mother’s house early in the morn­ing, and they will be greeted with a bowl of sweet ginkgo and lon­gan (for a sweet be­gin­ning to the year).

Then, they will all grav­i­tate to dif­fer­ent parts of the house. Aunts and un­cles will plonk them­selves in front of the tele­vi­sion or start a poker or cherki ses­sion. The chil­dren will have the run of the house; check­ing out each other’s tablets and of­ten end­ing up in the in­flat­able pool in the gar­den by late af­ter­noon. Cousins will find a nook to chat and catch up on each other’s lives.

Wher­ever we are and what­ever we do, we all even­tu­ally end up around the din­ing ta­ble – not once but many times through­out the day.

There will be my mother’s sig­na­ture asam fish and prawn curry, jiu hu char (sen­gkuang with cut­tle­fish), tu tor t’ng (a soup with pig in­testines) and var­i­ous other dishes for lunch.

The ta­ble will then be cleared for spring rolls and pie tee.

We will be kept busy rolling up spring rolls to serve those busy gam­bling or tend­ing to the lit­tle ones, and su­per­vis­ing kids in­tent on mak­ing their own help­ings.

And there will of course be a free flow of Chi­nese New Year good­ies – love let­ters made by my cousin (not store-bought), melt-in-the­mouth kuih bangkit and peanut bis­cuits.

The feast­ing usu­ally ends with a quick din­ner as ev­ery­one gets ready to go home. Chances are we will meet again in fol­low­ing days as we will take turns vis­it­ing each other ... and eat­ing to­gether.

So, maybe when I come back from the Chi­nese New Year hol­i­days, I will need a break from all that glut­tony and eat a salad ... like one with a light orange vinai­grette and Man­darin or­anges. It will be a com­fort­ing re­minder of the Chi­nese New Year rev­elry.

Roast Chicken And Man­darin Orange Salad

Serves two 150g mixed mesclun leaves 8-10 cherry toma­toes Seg­ments from 1 Man­darin orange 1 bone­less chicken thigh, roasted and sliced 1 tbsp roasted se­same seeds ½ cup orange vinai­grette dress­ing

Orange vinai­grette dress­ing

Juice from 1 orange 2 tbsp rice vine­gar 1 tbsp cas­tor su­gar ½ cup veg­etable oil 1 tsp grated gin­ger Salt and black pep­per to taste To make vinai­grette, mix all the in­gre­di­ents in a jar and shake vig­or­ously.

To as­sem­ble salad, mix all the in­gre­di­ents in a big bowl, driz­zle with vinai­grette and toss.

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