Abundance & Prosperity Poon Choi (盆菜) with Heavenly Rich Broth


 

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Poon Choi Aka Pen Cai (盆菜) is an Auspicious one-pot dish served in a very big pot (traditionally served in wooden and metal basin) during festive peiods, especially Chinese New Year.

Poon Choi (盆菜) is usually crowded with overflowing of ingredients to signify abundance of wealth and prospertity. The choice of ingredients to be added is endless. Usually includes  Roast meat, dried mushroom, conpoy, prawns, abalone, fish maw, broccoli, yam, etc…

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Usually, the ingredients are layered such that radish, cabbage will be at the bottom. More premium ingredients are layered on top for a more luxury presentation. Also, to allow the juice from the meat and seafood to flow to the bottom of the basin.

It is not a cheap dish to prepare but it’s even more expensive to have it while dining out, especially with big group of family members.

Preparation is not difficult, just that a few more steps is required to blanch and cook the ingredients and also to layer the ingredients.

Let’s get on to the Step-by-Step Recipe Guide:

1st, let’s prepare all the ingredients needed in advance. Some ingredients to be use might require soaking in water for 30mins to an hour or even days if you are using dried sea cumcumber.

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Also, I made my own sio bak (roasted pork belly), which i started at least 24 hours before. You can opt for store-bought sio bak or any other roast meat like roast chicken or duck. Alternatively, you can click on this link for Super Succulent Non-Poke Sio Bak using airfryer.

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Pre-soak sea cumcumber (if you are using the dried version) at least 1 to 2 days before and any other ingredients that requires long hour of soaking. Or you can just get washed and fresh sea cucumber which I prefer for convenience sake.

On the actual day, wash and soak dried mushroom until soften (remember to reserve the soaking liquid)

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Break fish maw into smaller pieces and soak until soften. Depending on the type of fish maw used, the soaking time is different. Please do check with seller or follow packaging instruction.

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Once all ingredients are prep, set aside and we can start making the broth first.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a large heated pot @ medium heat. Once heated, add in chopped garlic and saute until fragrance

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Then add in dried mushroom, napa cabbage, fish maw, reserved mushroom soaking liquid, water, and all seasoning for the broth

Bring it to boil at medium high heat and then decrease to low heat to simmer for about minimum 30 mins to allow the ingredients to soften and fullly release their aroma.

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When the broth is ready, you can start to blanch or cook the remaining ingredients in the broth, depending on desired doneness.

Broccoli just need to blanch for like 15 secs.

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Scallop, sea cucumber and prawn about 2 to 3 mins, depending on size. Do not overcook these as it will result in tough texture of the meat

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Remove the cooked ingredients from the pot once its cooked to prevent overcooking. Set aside for layering later.

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The layering…..

Layer the base of the pot with napa cabbage and white radish (if you are using). I did not use white radish though I love to. White radish is a nice addition to the dish

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Then slowly add the rest of the ingredients section by section and arrange based on your creativity.

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Now to the thickening of the broth….

Combine corn starch and water in a small bowl. Stir until combine

Then slowly pour into the boiling broth. Stir while adding in the mixture.

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When the broth is thicken to your desired consistency, you can ladle the gravy over the arranged pot of yumminess

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After adding enough gravy, bring back to stove to boil before serving.

Alternatively, you can serve on the table over an induction hotplate. But do remember the stir occassionally to prevent burnt and also to dig up the yummy vegetables at the bottom.

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Abundance & Prosperity Poon Choi (盆菜)
Author: 
Serves: about 6 to 8 pax
 
Ingredients
The Ingredients
  • 150g Dried Fish Maw (Soaked and Soften)
  • 60g Dried Mushroom (Soaked and Soften - reserve soaking liquid)
  • 500g Fresh Sea Cucumber (Washed; Soaked and soften if using dried ones)
  • 1 kg Prawns
  • 250g Fresh Scallop
  • 1 kg Roast Meat (Roast pork, Duck, Chicken or mixture)
  • 1 can Abalone
  • 1 Can Sea Asparagus
  • 300g Broccoli (Floret Only)
  • 150 g Carrot (Peeled & Sliced)
  • 500g Napa Cabbage (Cut into Chunks)
  • 500g White Radish (Cut into Chunks)
  • 300 Fried Yam
The Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
  • 2 litres of water (including reserved mushroom soaking liquid)
  • 120 ml Oyster Sauce
  • 60 ml Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Sugar
Finishing and Thickening of Broth
  • 60 ml Hua Tiao
  • 4 tablespoon Corn Flour
  • 4 tablespoon Water
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Soak and prepare all ingredients in advance and base on the time required
The broth
  1. Heat the oil in a large heated pot over medium heat
  2. Add chopped garlic and saute until fragrance
  3. Add in water, mushroom, fish maw, cabbage, white radish and all other seasonings required for the broth
  4. Bring it to boil over medium high heat then lower the fire to simmer for 30 mins to an hour
Cooking and Blanching the Ingredients
  1. Cook and blanch those ingredients that need to be cooked in the broth (Can be done in batches or add the ingredients that need to cook into the pot all at once and remove from the pot when done)
  2. Estimated Time (Varies based on size): Prawns and Scallops about 3 mins, broccoli about 15 to 20 sec, Carrot about 2 to 3 mins, sea cucumber about 3 mins
  3. Remove cooked items from the broth and set aside for layering later. Turn off the heat of the broth while layering
  4. Ingredients that do not need to cook in broth: Roast meat, Abalone, Sea Asparagus, Fried Yam
Layering the Auspicious Pot
  1. Start with Napa Cabbage and White Radish
  2. Then start arranging the rest of the ingredients in section or based on your creativity
Finishing and Thickening of Broth
  1. Bring the broth back to boil.
  2. Add Hua Tiao Wine and allow it to boil for a min
  3. Mix the corn flour and water in a small bowl
  4. Slowly pour in the corn flour mixture into the boiling broth and stir while adding
  5. Ladle the broth over the pot of layered ingredients
  6. Bring the whole pot of poon cai back to the stove and bring it to boil or just serve over induction hotplate
  7. *If serving over induction hotplate, once the poon coi boils, lower to the lowest heat possible and stir occassionally to prevent burnt bottom.
Notes
1.Soaking time of ingredients very much depends on the type and quality you purchased. Please check with seller or instruction on packaging
Typically, soaking of fish maw ranges from 2 hours to 1 day
Dried sea cucumber need about 2 days. Prep all in advance

2. Weightage and choice of ingredients can be change according to your preference. Other optional ingredients which you can add to poon choi: Dried Scallop, Pork Knuckles, etc...

 

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