For Chinese New Year dishes that are sure to impress guests, Nafeesa Saini looks to four society personalities known for their cooking wizardry. At the stylish showroom of German luxury kitchen appliance brand Gaggenau, she speaks to Susan Peh on their family celebrations, signature recipes and expert tips.
“It was about 10 years ago when we were accompanying our eldest daughter in London. She had just started her first semester at a university there. We were in a Chinese restaurant and I was feeling nostalgic and homesick. There was a particular smell with the comforting undertones of sesame, ginger and scallions that reminded me so much of home. We discovered that it was a lobster noodle dish, decided to try it and found that it tasted really good. The dish has since grown close to my heart as it always brings back comforting memories. I decided to cook it myself so that the ingredients and flavours could be adjusted to healthier proportions and yet taste great.”
“Buy the freshest ingredients. For the lobsters, purchase them live on the day that you are cooking them. I often improvise and have added beer, salted egg yolk, Chinese black vinegar, prawn roe, angel hair pasta or mee pok as substitutes. Ultimately, perfection is achieved when your family and friends are happy and gratified after tasting the dish.”
“My husband Adrian and I work long hours so our time for socialising is limited. Before the pandemic, we used to host family and friends at our home during Chinese New Year to catch up. One of the highlights that I would always be excited about was to create a giant yusheng for family and friends. We would also visit our senior relatives and close friends. With social distancing measures in place now, it is sadly not possible to do the same in large numbers for a while. We will likely have a quieter family Chinese New Year celebration at home over home-cooked food.”
“A clean, bright, well-organised and ventilated kitchen equipped with quality appliances and utensils always makes cooking and baking an absolute joy!”
For marinated minced pork
To serve: Assemble noodles, lobsters and vegetables on a serving plate. Pour hot stock generously over the dish. Garnish creatively.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALECIA NEO | ART DIRECTION: AUDREY CHAN | HAIR: SHA SHAMSI | MAKE-UP: NOOR FASEHA ISMAIL
This story first appeared in the January 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.
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