If you enjoy exploring and preparing different dishes from around the world, then you’ll love the challenge of making your own Cantonese Peng Cai. Literally translated, Peng Cai means ‘basin of vegetables’ and it used to be served to the Emperors of the Song Dynasty in wooden washbasins. In recent years, it has become a New Year favourite in Singapore.
Peng Cai ingredients
- 6 prawns – 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine – ginger slices
- 100g broccoli – 1/2 carrot sliced
- 200g daikon sliced (soak for 10 mins) – 1/2 head napa cabbage trimmed – 50g threadfin fish maw soaked and drained – 1.5l chicken stock
- 1 can baby abalone (reserve broth) – 10 dried Chinese mushrooms (soak for 15 mins) trimmed – 10 dried scallops (soak in hot water for 15 mins) – 50g dried beancurd skin (soak 15 mins) 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp wolfberries (soaked) – 3tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
- 2 pieces of deep-fried bean curd – quarter roast duck sliced – 200g roasted pork belly sliced – small handful of fat choy (soak 10 mins)
Preparing the Peng Cai
- Arrange ginger slices and prawns on a plate. Drizzle with Chinese wine and steam for 4 minutes. Set aside. Blanch broccoli and carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add napa cabbage to some boiling chicken stock. Set aside after 1 minute. Add fish maw and daikon. Simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Blanch abalone in remaining chicken stock for a few seconds and set aside. Add dark soy sauce and water from soaking mushrooms. Add mushrooms, bean curd, scallops. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove bean curd. Set aside. Simmer mushrooms and scallops for further 15 minutes. Add abalone broth to remaining chicken stock. Add wolfberries and simmer for 3 minutes, seasoning to taste. Thicken with cornstarch solution.
- Layer Peng Cai into a pan in the following order: napa cabbage, bean curd, daikon, pork belly, 3/4 fish maw. Arrange fat choy, remaining fish maw, mushrooms and scallops in a corner. Close lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Arrange abalone, prawns, duck, broccoli and carrots to make a top layer. Bring remaining sauce to boil and pour over ingredients until the sauce reaches the top of the pan. Serve with rice.