Closed doors…

Chinese New Year 2021 is around two weeks ago on Friday, the 12th of February, but we shall be ushering in the Year of the Ox behind closed doors.

There will not be any need to go through weeks of strenuous spring cleaning, wiping and scrubbing every nook and cranny in the house from top to bottom, no climbing up and down putting up the lanterns and other decorations and of course, there will not be any welcoming of family and friends, unlike last year. In view of the current situation, we shall not be holding an open house this year.

Of course, we shall have a simple Reunion Dinner on the eve of the brand new year and we shall be inviting my sister to join us, that’s all.

No, we are not going out to buy anything special – we shall have to make do with what we have in the freezer and the fridge. We still have a few ikan bawal hitam/or chio (black pomfret) and those will have to do – nian nian you yu 年年有鱼.  We will probably cook sweet and sour fish with those as red is an auspicious colour. I don’t think we shall take out the otak-otak from Payung as they say we must have whole fish and we must leave a bit for the following day and not eat up all of it.

My missus made some Sarawak acar timun (pickled cucumber) and I’ve been frying keropok (prawn/fish crackers) – they go so well together and sitting down to enjoy them is a Chinese New Year thing here but the problem with being cooped up in the house all day long, the keropok kept running out.  We still have two packets left but I think I shall wait till the festival draws near before drying them in the sun and frying them.

She also made some pineapple tarts…

Missus' pineapple tarts

Usually, she would just go out and buy – there is a bakery here that makes them in the form of golden nuggets…

Daily Bread pineapple nuggets

They are getting more expensive and smaller each year but thankfully, when we bought some last year, they were still very nice.

It sure was extremely work intensive, making one’s own pineapple tarts. Preparing the jam was so tedious – I saw my missus stirring it slowly over a very small fire for hours and at times, she would enlist my girl’s help.

Getting the pastry ready isn’t so bad unlike in my younger days when I used to help my mum and aunties and my maternal grandma to make pineapple tarts. We would use bottle caps (Sun Valley orange cordial or grenadine) to cut circles in the pastry for the base to put the pineapple jam and then we would cut long strips of the pastry to line the sides and seal them. After that, we would clip the sides with brass clippers – a special instrument with serrated edges – to make a nice design.

Nowadays, there are special moulds for making pineapple tarts and you can just use them to stamp the pastry…

Pineapple tarts, pastry

…and after you have placed the ball of pineapple jam in the hole…

Pineapple tarts, ready for the baking

…they are ready for the baking.

My missus’ pastry is perfect! It is crumbly but it melts in the mouth and does not crumble in your hand. That is really quite a challenge to achieve. Ever so often, I’ve had pineapple tarts where the pastry was a bit too hard for my liking.

The pineapple jam was perfect when it came out of the oven – moist, not hard and not too soft and sticky but unfortunately, once it cooled down, probably due to the loss of moisture and the extended cooking in the residual heat, the jam got a little bit dry and hard. Still, it was very nice and we still enjoyed it very much. They’re all kept in tightly-sealed jars now – no eating till Chinese New Year or else they will all be gone in no time at all.

While she was busy with the tarts that afternoon, my girl made these lovely mini gimbap/kimbap aka mayak gimbap

Mayak gimbap

…for our dinner. There was rice, tuna and vegetables with some Korean sauce wrapped in the seaweed so it was a complete meal in itself and thankfully, there was no kim chi so I could enjoy it. LOL!!!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

13 thoughts on “Closed doors…”

  1. Sounds like you are all ready for CNY as well! Those pineapple tarts look so delicious! Good decision to only have your sister over for CNY. We are also having our own cny sop of only two different households in one cny gathering and I am not going to any cny reunion dinner. Just staying in my room while my spouse is doing cny reunion lunch with his parents.

    I guess it is all right to have one’s immediate family members – they say the limit is 20, if I am not wrong but no, thank you. I am definitely not going to have so many, just something small and simple to observe the tradition and observe the heritage.

    1. Immediate family living in different households also carry a bit if risk unless they are very sure they didn’t go anywhere and didn’t get infected by asymptomatic people.

      Yes, like my sister’s helper. She told her not to show up as she does not know where she goes to when not at work (morning only). In the end, she still comes, says she does not go anywhere, just stays at home.

  2. I love the last line! High 5, STP, why eat kimchi when you can eat those vegetables fresh?

    LOL!!! Exactly!!!

    1. For the probiotics. Kimchi is fermented and contains probiotics that is good for the guts. It is also an appetizer to enhance the taste of dishes. To say why eat kimchi when can eat fresh vegetables is like saying why eat fried chicken when you can eat steamed chicken. Kimchi is an acquired taste and is beneficial to the body.

      Yes, it’s an acquired taste and I am one of many who have not acquired it – the ladies in the house will swear by it, they love it. Same with things like cincaluk, tempoyak, tau joo. Once you’ve acq1uired the taste, you’re hooked.

      Well, even when it comes to fresh vegetables, there are some we like, some we don’t. My girl only eats cabbage in coleslaw…and Chinese cabbage in kimchi!

  3. Guess this is the most relaxing CNY for me. Hope next year we will be able to go full swing again…. 😁😁😁 Take care and stay safe. Oh ya, the gimbap looks good and thankfully no Kimchi too.

    Yes, it was very nice. I wouldn’t mind a little sushi vinegar though for a hint of that sourish taste.

    Frankly, I do not mind giving celebrating Chinese New Year a miss, go for a holiday or something. Just relax and enjoy, no need to suffer, prepare half dead.

  4. The same over here. Not going to do anything over the top to clean the house just like what we usually do.

    Your pineapple tarts are really tempting. Cute and “fat” :p

    Yes, must be generous with the pineapple, otherwise not nice.

  5. Wow!! Wish I could taste the pineapple tarts!! I love it.

    I received one tube from friend yesterday and buying another 1 from another friend. I buy pineapple tarts for CNY ever year.

    Wahhhh!!! Two tubs already! Some people have all the luck in the world. Yes, there are places selling very nice ones in Kuching.

  6. Wow such generous filling for the pineapple tarts!

    I don’t mind less to enjoy the pastry provided it is very good. My missus’ pastry is very nice!

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