When I was younger, Chinese New Year holidays was exceptional, quite unlike the other festivals or public holidays that we knew. For one thing, we got to wear new clothes (yes, it was a big deal. We never used to buy new clothes all the time like the way we do now) , feast on goodies like barbequed minced meat, love letters and pineapple tarts which would only be available during Chinese New Year. Of greater impact was the fact that all shops would be closed for almost 2 weeks. The whole city came to a standstill - roads were deserted, shop fronts were shut. Competent housewives, gripped by a sense of urgency and panic, would have stocked up their fridge with enough food ingredients to feed the family for almost 2 weeks.
Things are markedly different now. Business earnings take precedence over traditional observation. Major supermarkets now remain opened throughout the holiday period. Hence there is less need to hoard over food stuff.... the disappearing sense of panic to some extent, diluted the buzzing excitement that we used to feel during the festival.
Despite today's convenience, food still remains abundant in households. In my family, we find ourselves staring at gargantuan portion of white rice, chicken, roast duck and various types of seafood like prawns, crab meat, fish maw and scallops.
Last year, I cooked this fish maw soup with the left overs in the fridge. This year, I choose to throw these ingredients into a light and comforting rice soup.
Soupy and easily digested, this is a perfect one dish meal to atone for the gluttony we have been indulging in over the past few days.
Simple to make but still big on flavours.
Seafood Rice Congee
4 Diced scallops
4 Prawns, shelled and deveined
1 tbsp Oil
500ml Chicken stock
200g Cooked rice
Dash Sesame oil
Dash Huatiao chinese cooking wine
100g Cooked Crab meat
2 tsp Chopped coriander stems
1 Piece of fish maw, soaked and cut into strips
10 Thin slices of abalone
1 Egg white
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Sugar
Dash Sesame oil
3 tsp Corn flour
Chopped spring onion
Crisp fried shallots
1. Combine scallops, prawns together with Marinade and marinate for 1 hour.
2. In a pot, heat up some water and poach (1) for 20 seconds. Set aside.
3. Heat up a wok and add oil. Fry cooked rice for 1 minute and add chicken stock. Add seasoning.
4. Continue to heat rice and stock until soup starts to boil. Add coriander stem. Add (2) and heat until boiling.
5. Ladle rice soup into serving bowl and garnish with spring onion and fried shallots.