年年有余 Steamed Fish ( Teochew Style )

Fish in chinese is called ‘yu’ which sounds similar to the word 余 .  余 signifies surplus, having ‘leftovers’, in a way symbolizes abundance.  The chinese sayings for eating fish is ‘年年有余’ (nian nian you yu)  means  ‘having surpluses every year’.  Fish can be cooked in any style but must be served with its head and tail intact for a good beginning and ending in the new year.

Steamed Fish ( Teochew Style )

Source : Hundred Eighty Degrees


2 medium whole seabass ( scaled and cleaned )

A dash of salt

Few thin slices of ginger

1 medium tomato, cut into wedges

5 dried mushrooms, soak in water to soften, cut off the stems and cut into slices

Some salted vegetables,  cut into thin slices

2 salted plums

1tbsp light soy sauce

1tsp cooking oil

A dash of sugar

1tbsp Shaoxing wine or XO


1. Score the fish’s flesh on both sides with 2-3 parallel cuts. ( I will omit scoring the fish’s flesh during CNY for the reason of completeness )

2. Rub the fish with salt on both sides.

3. Place the fish on a plate, arrange ginger, tomato, mushrooms, salted vegetable and salted plums on the fish.

3. Mix light soy sauce, cooking oil and sugar and drizzle mixture on the fish.

4. Keep the marinated fish in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

5. Heat up a wok with enough water. Cover the wok with a lid and when water is boiling, place your fish inside the wok, propped up with a small inverted bowl or round wire steamer rack. Steam the fish on high heat for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked.  Drizzle Shaoxing Wine or XO on the fish towards the end of steaming. Once the wine or XO is added, steam for another 1-2 seconds to avoid evaporation.  Serve hot.

Note : Timing to steam really depends on the thickness of your fish, you have to judge it yourself.  Just make sure your wok has enough water to steam, add water if need to.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012) hosted by Wen of Wen’s Delight.


嘻哈大笑 Ketchup Prawn

I have a family gathering at my place on the 7th day of CNY, Hubby and I combined effort to prepare five dishes ourselves while three other dishes ( Fa Cai Yusheng, Teochew Braised Duck and Wu Xiang ) were store-bought.  We cooked ketchup prawns, stewed chicken, steamed fish, mixed vegetable and pig maw (pig stomach) soup for the 8-course dinner.

Prawn (shrimp) connote happiness. Cantonese pronounced prawn/shrimp as ‘ha’ which means laughter.  This is a must-have dish in Chinese families during Chinese New Year.  Even for me who does not need to cook on the first two days in CNY will buy and keep prawns in the freezer for that auspicious reason.

Ketchup Prawn

Source : Hundred Eighty Degrees’ Hubby ( prepared and cooked by Hubby )


1kg prawns

1tbsp cooking oil

½ tbsp chopped garlic

¼ cup ketchup         )

2tbsp chili sauce     )     mix together

50ml water               )

Cornflour, mix with some water — just use 1-2 tsp cornflour mixture

Dash of sugar


1. Heat oil in wok and sauté garlic till aromatic.

2. Add prawn and stir fry till they are almost cooked.

3. Add in ketchup mixture and sugar, stir evenly.  Add in cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce and bring to a boil.  Add in cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce.  Serve hot.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #15: Auspicious Dishes for CNY (January 2012) hosted by Wen of Wen’s Delight.