年菜吉祥慶團圓

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1989 / 2月

文‧陳桂芳 圖‧鄭元慶張良綱


中國人注重吃是舉世聞名,在每個節日堙A都有特殊的吃食。上元吃元宵、端午吃粽子、中秋吃月餅、重陽吃花糕都各饒情趣;而過年時除了年糕、臘肉、香腸、鹹肉、燻魚、風雞之類的應景菜,各地又有特殊的年菜:揚州人過年吃素什錦、獅子頭;鎮江人吃餚肉;湖北人吃珍珠丸子;東北人吃白煮豬肉……;當然,每家也都少不了一個熱騰騰的什錦火鍋。

台灣地區的年菜是什麼呢?


閩南俗諺:「新年頭、舊年尾」,意思是說一年中最重要的日子就數除夕與春節了。

家家戶戶不管有錢沒錢,總要把年過得熱熱鬧鬧的,尤其是準備年菜,更是過年的重頭戲。

所謂的年卅,閩南人謂作「過年暝」,如果臘月小,便以廿九為過年。今年舊曆年的最末一天,便是廿九日。

這一天家家戶戶皆殺雞宰鴨,奉祀神明祖宗,再將菜餚置於桌上,中設火鍋,全家圍坐,俗稱「圍爐」。這也是一年一度全家大團圓的最好機會,不論男女老幼一家團聚,尤其是在遠方做事念書的家人,更要提早趕回來,共進一年的最後一餐。

圍爐含有祈求明年家庭依舊圓滿的意思,所以年夜飯的菜式,多半也藉著象徵手法,表達長壽、財富、高升、團圓的願望,圖個開年好彩頭。以下即是幾道此地較為普遍的年菜和做法:

長年富貴

芥菜俗名長年菜,所以許多家庭都會準備芥菜,以示「長年富貴」。最普遍的做法是用雞湯煮長年菜,必須一長葉一長葉的煮,不能切斷。也有將油三大匙燒熱,以蔥薑爆香並去除後,再倒入芥菜、干貝絲、高湯及調味料煮開,以濕太白粉勾芡的作法。

更講究一點的,是用醬油、大蒜、薑去烤紅燒,直到烤爛為止。如此就是冷吃也沒關係,想吃熱的也可以回鍋,只要不一直翻攪就不會碎爛;因為在烤時,已經先用一層油保護,使外面那一層不會爛。

吉慶有餘

年夜菜一定會有魚。由於魚和餘同音,代表富貴有餘的意思,鯉和利、鰱和年的發音也相同,為討個吉祥的好兆頭,常被拿來象徵「吉慶有餘」。魚通常是煎或炸,吃年夜飯時不加任何佐料,要有也只是沾胡椒鹽。煎或炸時要注意維持魚身完整,吃時更要保留頭和尾。

春節期間也可做成糖醋魚待客。以油三大匙將洋蔥炒香,並加入蕃茄醬四大匙、白醋三大匙、糖四大匙、鹽二分之一小匙、高湯三大匙、味素少許等調味料,煮開時放入青椒絲,以少許濕太白粉勾芡。將上項材料淋入灑了蔥絲、薑絲、紅辣椒的魚身上即成。

機運年年

一般年俗從年卅到正月初五,過去講究人家甚至到十五或二月二日,都不許動刀。因而這段期間的吃食,必須在過年之前弄好,所以烹調時多採用可以一熱再熱的煮法。把大塊豬肉和全只的雞或鴨、蹄膀、豆圈、雞蛋等,放在醬油媬L煮,是春節中最方便食用的年菜。

在以前的農業社會堙A生活較為清苦,一般時候很少吃到雞,只有過年例外。這道年菜中的大菜被稱為「機運年年」,全雞或鴨的頭、翅膀、屁股、腳等四個部位是「四點金」,一直要留到初五以後才能食用。

臘腸冬蒜

過年時節,大部分店舖商家都放假,市場也休市,因此家中準備的年菜有很多是要經放的,如香腸、臘肉……等。這味「臘腸冬蒜」是將香腸油炸後配蒜苗吃,風味絕佳。

不過有一點要特別注意,很多家庭主婦在買臘味之後,喜歡把它掛在竹竿上晾曬,這是錯誤的作法,很容易受到污染而變質。正確的方式是用塑膠袋包起來放在冰箱堙A等到要吃的時候,再拿出來蒸、煮或煎、烤,這樣才比較合乎衛生。

什錦如意鍋

從歲暮到新春,年菜的中心總是火鍋,它的材料是卅日拜拜時湊碗數的一些青菜、魚丸、蝦、白菜、蘿蔔、筍等,這些東西事前先燙過,拜完後全部放入雞湯內就成了「什錦如意鍋」。

以往沒有電磁爐、電爐、瓦斯爐時,用的是炭火。卅日的傍晚,主婦在廚房裡忙著準備年夜飯,小孩們則在院子裡升著圍爐用的炭火;木炭要一直燃到通紅而無煙才能移入火鍋底。火鍋底下還壓著一圈的錢幣,也是壓歲的意思,祈求明年一年的順利平安,這要一直到初五後才能撤離。

步步高昇

閩南語是這樣唸的:「甜粿過年、發粿發財、包仔粿包金、菜頭粿呷點心」。這幾樣代表吉兆的年糕,是年菜的重要角色,同時也是每個人都要吃的。甜粿的吃法頗多,可以冷食、煎著吃或沾上麵粉和蛋用油炸;發粿和包仔粿都可以冷食或煎;菜頭粿煎了以後,沾蒜頭醬油吃,是年節裡待客最好的點心,吃了以後升官又發財。

有一首描寫過年的民謠,從歌詞中可知中國人對年菜的重視程度。廿三日灶神升天、廿四日寫春聯、廿五日蒸年糕、廿六日宰豬、廿七日殺雞、廿八日包粿、廿九日炸菜、忙到卅日吃完這一頓吉祥富貴、如意高升的年夜飯,歌謠裡還提醒大家——整夜不要睡啊!

〔圖片說明〕

P.121

長年富貴

材料:

芥菜五棵、鹽三茶匙、味精一茶匙、高湯一鍋。

作法:

1.開水中,加鹽一茶匙,芥菜剝長葉(不可切斷),放入川燙,即可撈出沖冷水。再放進煮沸的高湯中,加鹽二茶匙、味精一茶匙,煮軟即可。

2.食用時可視人數計量加熱。

P.121

吉慶有餘

材料:

鯧魚一條、油五碗、胡椒粉二茶匙、鹽一茶匙。

作法:

1.將魚洗淨後,兩面劃斜刀深及骨刺,抹鹽並瀝乾水份。放入八分熱的油鍋中,炸熟約三至四分鐘,必須維持魚身完整。

2.將胡椒粉、鹽放入鍋中熱炒三分鐘。

3.食用時沾胡椒鹽吃,頭尾要保留。

P.122

機運年年

材料:

雞一隻、蹄膀一個、雞蛋十個、豆圈一斤、醬油一瓶、蒜頭三個、糖二茶匙、大蒜五根、八角二包、鹽一茶匙。

作法:

1.雞蛋先用開水加鹽一茶匙煮熟,撈出浸在冷水中,剝好殼待用。

2.水五碗加醬油、八角、蒜頭、糖倒入鍋中煮開,放進雞、蹄膀、豆圈、蛋,鹵至雞肉可撕為止。

3.大蒜切成約五公分長段加入,滷五分鐘後盛起。

4.食用時雞的頭、翅膀、屁股、腳等部份保留。

P.122

臘腸冬蒜

材料:

香腸十條、大蒜三根、炸油二碗、醬油一茶匙。

作法:

1.將炸油放入鍋中,隨即放進香腸,約炸五分鐘,通體呈透明狀即可撈起。

2.將油濾乾,待冷後斜切成片。

3.食用時夾斜切成薄片的蒜苗,佔醬油吃。

P.123

什錦如意鍋

材料:

茼蒿一斤、大白菜一個、豆腐四個、魷魚一條、生香菇五朵、蝦半斤、蚌半斤、蟹一隻、魚丸、甜不辣、蝦餃、金針菇、番茄等些許,高湯六碗。

作法:

1.火鍋可加的材料很多且數量也不受限制,依每個家庭的喜好而定。

2.這種火鍋沾沙茶醬加蛋吃,味道鮮美。

P.123

步步高升

材料:

年糕、蘿蔔糕各一塊、發粿二個、紅龜粿四個、蒜頭一個、醬油二茶匙、麵粉三茶匙以及蛋一個。

作法:

1.年糕、發粿、紅龜粿等三種可以冷食。

2.蘿蔔糕、發粿、紅龜粿可以煎著吃,尤其是蘿蔔糕切片煎軟後,沾蒜絨醬油,是春節期間最可口的點心。

3.年糕切片沾些加蛋的麵糊,在八分熱的油中炸至色呈金黃即可。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Auspicious Food for a Family Occasion--New Year's Cuisine

Chen Kwe-fang /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng and Vincent Chang /tr. by Phil Newell

That Chinese pay acute attention to food is well known. Every holiday has its own special fare: On the Lantern Festival it's small rice-flour dumplings named after the day, while for Dragon Boat Festival its tzung-tzu--rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, "moon cakes" for Mid-Autumn Festival, "flower cakes" for the Double Nine Festival . . . and all abundant with unique sentiments. On the Chinese (lunar) New Year, besides glutinous rice cakes, salted and dried meat, sausage, smoked fish, dry breezed chicken and other foods suitable for the occasion, each region also has its own special New Year's victuals: People from Yangchow do up mixed vegetables and "lion's head" meatballs; folks down Chenchiang way indulge in spicy pork; those from Hupei go for "pearl meat balls"; Manchurian natives prefer boiled pork. . . . And naturally no home can be without the huokuo ("hot pot"--a boiling pot hosting a myriad of ingredients). Taiwan, too, has its culinary specialties for the New Year.


In Fukienese there is a saying: "head of the new year, tail of the old," to describe the most important day in the Chinese lunar year.

Every home, rich or poor, becomes a bustle of activity. The New Year's meal,in particular, is the focus of special attention.

If the passing year is short, then the 29th is taken as the New Year's Eve, as is the case this year. On this day all families will make their devotions to the gods and ancestors with food symbolically offered; the food is then set on the table, with the hot pot at the center, and the family in a circle around it. This is the best chance in the year to bring the whole family together--young and old, male and female, and especially those working or studying in some far off place.

The family circle symbolizes a hope that the new year will see the family maintain wholeness. Therefore, the foods also mostly carries symbolism: of long life, wealth, rising fortunes, and togetherness, to give the new year an auspicious start.

The common name of mustard plant is "long years plant," so it is often prepared as a symbol of long-term wealth and position. It has to be prepared in long strips, which are not to be cut.

New Year's food certainly includes fish. Fish (yu) has the same sound as the word for "surplus," so it stands for a surplus of good fortune. The sound of the words for carp (li) and for silver carp (lien) are similar to those for "profit" and "year" and are deemed good omens. In preparation, the fish should be kept intact, and the head and tail should be left when the fish is eaten.

Ordinarily it is not permitted to use a knife from New Year's Eve to the fifth day of the New Year (for the more meticulous in the past, this could extend to the 15th or 22nd). Therefore it is necessary to prepare everything in advance and to prepare things that can be reheated. A big piece of pork, a whole chicken, pig's knuckles, dried beancurd, eggs, and so on are stewed in soy sauce, becoming convenient foods for use during the holiday.

In the agricultural society of the past, life was difficult, and people rarely ate chicken except at New Year's. The head, wings, behind, and feet of the chicken or duck were "the four points of gold," which had to be left until the fifth day of the new year before being consumed.

The center of holiday eating is the hot pot. Its ingredients come from the food symbolically offered on New Year's Eve, including green vegetables, fish balls, shrimp, cabbage, squash, or bamboo. These things are scalded prior to the offering ceremony, then afterwards plunged into chicken broth to create an "anything you wish" dish.

In the past there were of course no hotplates or gas flames; a charcoal fire was used. While mother prepared the food in the kitchen, the kids would start up the charcoal fire. The charcoal would be brought in ouly when it was red hot and had stopped smoking. Before the hot pot was placed on the hot charcoal, a circle of coins would be placed under it. These could not be removed until the fifth day.

The auspicious New Year's nienkao (glutinous rice cakes) play a central role, and everyone must partake. They are the best treats to offer guests and promise promotion and prosperity.

There is a folk song sketching the New Year; from it we get a glimpse of how important the New Year's meal is to Chinese. It goes: On the 23rd, send the hearth god off to heaven; on the 24th, write New Year's couplets (auspicious phrases on red strips of paper to be pasted by the door); on the 25th prepare nienkao; on the 26th, slaughter the pig; on the 27th, kill the chicken; on the 28th, prepare dumplings; on the 29th fry the foods; and on the 30th, eat all this auspicious food, gaining in position and wealth to your heart's desire!

And the song doesn't forget to remind us--don't go to sleep for the whole day!

[Picture Caption]

Celebrating Luck in Surplus

Ingredients: 1 pomfret, 5 cups frying oil, 2t pepper, 1t salt.

Method: 1. After cleaning, slice fish as shown, rub with salt and strain dry. Fry whole in pot of heated oil for 3-4 min., then remove oil. 2. Add salt and pepper and fry for 3 min. 3. When eating, dip fish in salt and pepper, leaving the head and tail for after the 5th.

Wealth and Honor Through the Years

Ingredients: 5 large mustard plants, 3t salt, 1t MSG, 1 pot broth.

Method: 1. Peel mustard plants into long stems and leaves (don't cut them) and scald in boiling water, adding 1t salt. Remove immediately and rinse in cold water. Then place in boiling broth, adding 2t salt and 1t MSG. Done when soft. 2. Can be reheated for serving later.

Year After Year of Luck

Ingredients: 1 chicken, 1 pig's knuckle, 10 eggs, 1 1b. dried tofu, 1 bottle soy sauce, 3 heads dry garlic, 2t sugar, 5 fresh garlics, 2 packs Japanese star anise, 1t salt.

Method: 1. Boil eggs in water with salt, douse in cold water, peel, and set aside. 2. Place 5 bowls of water, 1 bottle soy sauce, 2 packs star anise, 3 heads dry garlic, and 2t sugar in a pot and heat, adding chicken, pig's knuckle, dried tofu, and eggs and cook until chicken meat can be torn. 3. Add fresh garlic cut into 5 cm. lengths and cook for 5 min. 4. When eating, leave the chicken's head, wings, posterior, and feet for after the 5th.

Winter Sausage with Garlic

Ingredients: 10 sausages, 3 fresh garlics, 2 bowls frying oil, 1t soy sauce.

Method: 1. Place frying oil and sausages in pot and fry for 5 min. Remove when skins are transparent. 2. Strain off oil, cool, and slice as shown. 3. Eat with thin slices of garlic, dipping in soy sauce.

"As You Like It" Sundry Pot

Ingredients: 1 1b. green vegetables, 1 cabbage, 4 cubes tofu, 1 cuttlefish, 6 fish balls, 6 pieces tempura, 10 shrimp dumplings, 1 1b. lily flowers, 5 fresh mushrooms, 1/2 1b. shrimp, 1/2 1b. oysters, 2 crabs, 1 tomato, 6 eggs . . . 6 bowls broth.

Method: 1. The hot pot can be filled with whatever ingredients the family likes. Some of the above ingredients will already have been boiled in making ancestral offerings so they can be eaten after scalding in broth. 2. Especially tasty when dipped in a mixture of egg and sh'a-ch'a sauce.

Step by Step on the Way UP

Ingredients: 1 sticky rice cake (nien-kao), 1 turnip cake (lo-po kao), 2 fermented rice cakes (fa-kuo), 4 red turtle rice cakes (hung-kuei kuo), 1 head dry garlic, 2t soy sauce, 3t flour, 1 egg.

Method: 1. Nien-kao, fa-kuo, and hung-kuei kuo can be eaten cold. 2. lo-po kao, fa-kuo, and hung-kuei kuo can be fried. Lo-po kao, in particular, is a tasty New Year's treat when fried soft and dipped in soy sauce with garlic strips. 3. Nien-kao can be dipped in a mixture of egg and flour and fried in oil until it turns a golden brown.

 

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