The eating places are full for the 15 days of Chinese New Year, you have run out of auspicious elements to whip up a meal for last-minute guests and festive fatigue is beginning to set in.
Enter ready-to-eat meals. At least 4 meals and beverage firms have rolled out handy packages that transcend soup packets for a flavourful steamboat. Think correct dishes that may be pretty laborious to make, corresponding to pencai, natural rooster and braised sea cucumber with greens.
Simply order the gadgets on-line or purchase them at supermarkets. Defrost, warmth up within the microwave or steam and plate the dishes with the flourish of additional garnish.
Noting the demand for fast eats in the course of the festive interval, Ms Jocelyn Chng, 51, chief government of JR Group, which operates the merchandising machine chain of Chef-in-Box Vendcafe, determined to roll out Chinese New Year dishes this yr.
She says: “We noticed an increase in customers heading to Vendcafe at Anchorvale during the first few days of Chinese New Year last year as some wanted a quick bite before or after their visiting. The range we have launched is perfect for small families who do not want to head out to restaurants.”
The analysis and growth (R&D) course of to roll out Chinese New Year dishes shouldn’t be all the time smoothsailing although.
House Of Seafood restaurant’s chief government Francis Ng, 45, tried to come up with vegetable-based prepared meals, along with its staple of ready-to-eat crab gadgets. “That did not work out as the vegetables turned very soggy, but our R&D on that will continue,” he says.
While housewife Gillian Tan, 48, was initially not eager on providing ready-to-eat gadgets for Chinese New Year, she now sees them as an acceptable and hassle-free different. “I’d rather serve my guests food that is freshly cooked, but I’m the only one cooking for a gathering next Saturday and I don’t think I can manage. I have tried House Of Seafood’s crab items and the quality is pretty good. So I will buy the crab as an additional dish and try to cook the rest.”
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What: If you like to dine at home, the restaurant group not solely affords catering for Chinese New Year, but in addition ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook frozen meals.
Defrost the gadgets earlier than pouring out the contents to both steam or warmth up within the microwave. Info: Order on-line at www.homefiesta.tunglok.com. Self-collection accessible at chosen TungLok shops and free supply for orders of $80 and above.
GRANDMA-STYLE BRAISED PORK
What: Chunky items of braised pork stomach (above) come in a scrumptious sauce made with elements corresponding to purple yeast rice, Hua Tiao wine, star anise, bay leaves and beer. The sauce is on the salty aspect, so if needed, you’ll be able to dilute it. It goes effectively merely drizzled over rice. After defrosting, both steam for 10 to 15 minutes or microwave on excessive warmth for 2 to 4 minutes.
Price: $14.50, 350g, good for 3
HALF HERBAL CHICKEN
What: Once poured out of the bag, the perfume of the herbs hits you instantly. The mild and flavourful natural broth consists of wolfberries, purple dates, dang gui (angelica sinensis) and chuan xiong (rhizoma ligustici). The rooster (above) is tender and has loads of juicy meat. After defrosting, both steam for 15 to 20 minutes or microwave on excessive warmth for 5 to eight minutes.
Price: $10.70, 650g, good for 2
FISH MAW SOUP
What: This model of fish maw soup (above) is a premium model of the canned ones at supermarkets – whereas remaining hassle-free. It consists of items of fish maw, sliced mushroom and bamboo shoots in a thick soup. After defrosting, both steam for 15 to 20 minutes or microwave on excessive warmth for 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sizzling and garnish with coriander. To add extra flavour to the soup, stir in black vinegar and pepper to style.
Price: $16, 500g, good for 3
Taste Asia by Select Group
What: The chilled, halal-certified gadgets are good for 4 folks and require 5 to 6 minutes within the microwave. It is greatest to re-plate the dishes as an alternative of microwaving them of their plastic containers. Where: Selected HonestPrice, HonestPrice Finest and Giant supermarkets Info: www.tasteasia.com.sg
EIGHT TREASURES VEGETABLE
What: For a vegetable-based dish, go for Eight Treasures Vegetable (above), which has elements corresponding to Chinese cabbage, chestnuts, carrots, mushrooms (shiitake, straw and button mushrooms), wolfberries and mock abalone. It is topped with a clump of black moss (fatt choy) – an auspicious ingredient. The sauce has a lightweight flavour of rooster stock and isn’t overly salty.
Price: $18.80, 900g, good for 4
CABBAGE ROLL WITH BLACK MOSS
What: Good as a aspect dish, the bundle comes with 12 neatly rolled cabbage rolls with prawn filling (above). The rolls are topped with wolfberries and specks of black moss – all sitting in a gravy. Similar to the Eight Treasures Vegetable, the sunshine gravy is flavoured with rooster stock.
Price: $18.80, 800g, good for 4
BRAISED SEA CUCUMBER
What: No have to fuss over making ready a sea cucumber dish. Here (above), you get pretty thick items of braised sea cucumber in oyster sauce, together with candy peas, shiitake and button mushrooms, in addition to tender carrots and cabbage. If you like a meat possibility, there’s a Yam Duck Leg dish ($19.80, 900g, good for 4) accessible, with the same number of greens and sauce.
Price: $22.80, 800g, good for 4
LOTUS LEAF RICE
What: The rice comes neatly wrapped in a lotus leaf (above), so one can simply microwave the rice within the lotus leaf parcel. Then, merely slice a cross-section within the leaf to unveil the rice. The rice is cooked effectively – not mushy – and the addition of dried shrimp makes the rice extra tasty.
Other elements embody chunky rooster items and sliced shiitake mushrooms. Add a dollop of sambal belacan or drizzle gravy from different dishes on the rice so as to add extra flavour. The quantity of rice can simply feed six folks, though the packaging says that it feeds 4.
Price: $22.80, 1kg, good for 4
What: JR Group’s Chef-in-Box frozen merchandise ought to be defrosted earlier than heating within the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes. Pierce the plastic cowl of the microwavable container or open it barely to release the steam earlier than heating. The group additionally affords ready-to-eat meals underneath its Jia Yen model, accessible at main supermarkets.
Where: Available till March 2 in any respect Chef-in-Box Vendcafe shops (besides JCube), together with 320C Anchorvale Drive, 01-K1; 766 Pasir Ris Street 71, 01-K1; Lakeside and Ang Mo Kio MRT stations; or order on-line at www.chefinbox.sg
What: This ready-to-eat pencai (above) packs loads of elements in what appears to be a small bundle. You get abalone, recent prawns, fish maw, dried scallops, dried oysters, smoked duck, shiitake mushrooms and black moss. The elements sit on a mattress of soppy Chinese cabbage and there may be additionally sliced lotus root. It is an efficient different for lone diners or small events as most pencai are bought in giant claypots for giant teams.
Other Chinese New Year gadgets embody Emperor Chicken ($6.80), a complete rooster leg cooked in Chinese herbs; and Lotus Leaf Rice ($eight), with sliced Chinese sausages and mushrooms on a layer of lotus leaf.
Price: $18, good for 2
ORH NEE (Jia Yen)
What: Perfect as a dessert for Chinese New Year, the yam paste may be steamed within the vacuum packaging for 30 to 45 minutes or boiled within the packaging for 20 to 30 minutes. Another possibility is to pour the paste right into a bowl, defrost for 4 minutes, then add half a cup of water and blend effectively to get a easy paste. Then, warmth on medium excessive within the microwave for 2 to 4 minutes.
If you like your orh nee thicker, add simply half the quantity of water first, then stir in small quantities till your required thickness. The orh nee comes with entire ginkgo nuts as effectively. To serve, take into account including coconut cream or mashed pumpkin as garnish.
Price: $9, good for 2 to 4
House Of Seafood
SALTED EGG CRAB
What: If seafood is a must-have for Chinese New Year, get the ready-to-eat crab (above) from House Of Seafood. The seafood restaurant affords three flavours – chilli, black pepper and salted egg – and also you get one entire crab, with the shell cracked for handy consuming. Just defrost the crab, open the plastic seal and warmth up for eight minutes within the microwave.
The crab is recent and has loads of meat, whereas the salted egg yolk gravy is thick and creamy.
Where: House Of Seafood shops at The Punggol Settlement and Upper Serangoon Road, and its merchandising machines; or order on-line at http://houseofseafood.sg
PHOTOS: HOUSE OF SEAFOOD, JR GROUP, SELECT GROUP, TUNGLOK GROUP