Sunday, January 9, 2011

Roast Duck & Orange Salad

Appetising Salad with Citrus Honey & Ginger Dressings

With Chinese New Year round the corner, I am starting to think of the food & snacks relating to the festive period.

New Year's Eve dinner is the start of the festive celebration, where family members will gather for the Reunion Dinner.  Nowadays, more people choose to have their Reunion dinner at a restaurant.  Fuss-free, no preparation or cleaning up to do are the main reasons for the restaurant-goers.  Personally, I prefer to have this special dinner at home.  For an easy to prepare Reunion Dinner, we usually have hotpot or steamboat dinner on New Year's eve.

On the first day of New Year, my mother-in-law will prepare a traditional vegetarian dish, Vegetable Stew in Fermented Red Bean Curd Sauce (南乳焖斋) and the Eight Treasures Dessert Soup (八宝糖水) for brunch.  Throughout the day, there will be the usual festive snacks like pineapple tarts, cookies, bak gua (BBQ meat), love letters, Mandarin oranges, melon seeds etc.  New Year's Dinner will consist of a traditional soup with five or six other auspicious-sounding dishes.

Yu Sheng (鱼生) is a "must have" dish during the Chinese New Year, where everyone will toss ("lo hei", Cantonese for 捞起) to a year of abundance and prosperity!  My little girl loves this dish, as this is the only time where she can literally play & toss her food with all's approval.  Traditionally, Yu Sheng is served on the 7th day of New Year, i.e. Ren Ri (人日) or everyone's birthday.  Ha, but we Singaporeans are very kiasu ..... only one day to gather all the prosperity for the whole year is certainly not enough!  So, many people start to "lo hei" as early as one week before the Chinese New Year and "lo" all the way to the 15th day of New Year!  With demands, restaurants are happily supplying this Yu Sheng dish.  Why not, since this is the only time of the year where diners are happily forking out big bucks for essentially a low-cost salad dish (mainly shredded carrot and radish) served with miserable slices of raw fish.

With all the rich food and calories, it will be good to plan some lighter meals in-between the festive period.  Something refreshing to cleanse your palette between heavy meals, to boost your vegetables intake and a great way to clear some of the leftover food and Mandarin oranges.

(serves 2 to 3 persons)

1 cup roast duck meat, thinly shredded
2 small Mandarin oranges (seedless type) - break into segments
Salad greens
1/2 cucumber (sliced)
1/2 onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup of chopped parsley & spring onion

Dressings - mix together:

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 to 3 tbsp orange juice (squeezed from few segments of mandarin oranges)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp grated ginger

1) Arrange salad greens, cucumber, onion and half the chopped parsley/spring onion in a deep salad bowl.
2) Mix 2 to 3 tbsp of salad dressings with the shredded roast duck meat.
3) Drizzle remaining salad dressings on vegetables and place duck meat and orange segments on top.
4) Garnish with remaining chopped parsley, toss well and serve immediately.

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