I grew up in Luton, which may not sound like a hotbed of multiculturalism but our personal corner of it always was – our family friends included Chinese, Jewish, Indians, Irish, Malaysians, Scottish, Sri Lankans amongst others. When it came to New Year, we celebrated according to both the Gregorian and traditional Chinese lunar calendars. I will never forget the days we spent running wild with the other kids around the farm house, outbuildings and extensive gardens of Uncle John and Aunty Margaret, in between repeated bouts of feasting from a huge kitchen table groaning with dishes and the all-important steamboat. Cherished memories…
So it’s a shame that I seldom cook Chinese food at home; it remains something we tend to eat out, not least because I have a soft spot for dim sum, hard work to make at home (given the sheer variety that can be enjoyed in a single inexpensive meal out). The same goes for roast duck and many other favourite dishes.
That said, I have been using Amoy products for many years; mainly their soy sauces which are available in varieties including light, dark, reduced fat and special selection. I recently tried the lemongrass and kaffir lime one, which adds a lovely rounded citrus flavour – perfect for one of my favourite simple marinades for grilled lamb chops – mix soy, mustard and honey to taste and spread over the meat before grilling.
The meal below was created using some of Amoy’s other products, which they sent to me along with Chinese lanterns, fortune cookies and gold-embossed red envelopes, used to give monetary gifts on special occasions. I’ve added a bowl of clementines, not only because they’re one of my favourite fruits but because oranges are a common gift at Chinese New Year, associated with prayers for good fortune. Fresh fruit also symbolises a new beginning.
Red, gold and orange are the key colours for Chinese New Year, and make laying a themed table simple to achieve. If you are able to add in a few lanterns and red envelopes of your own, so much the better!
We weren’t so keen on the Amoy straight-to-wok medium noodles, which we combined with spring onions, beansprouts and Amoy’s chow mein stir fry sauce – the texture of the noodles was mushy (though we cooked them exactly as instructed) and the sauce wasn’t one I’d buy again.
But we enjoyed the Amoy satay stir fry sauce which we combined with chicken thighs, button mushrooms and sugar snaps. I’d serve this over rice rather than add noodles to the pan (as recommended in the instructions).
Wishing all my readers a very happy Chinese New Year – Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Kavey Eats received a selection of sample products, decorations and a supermarket voucher from Amoy.