Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Authentic Peng Cai, its Secrets and our Potluck session

The official Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration came to an end last Saturday. I bet you all must have cooked and eaten dozens of different dishes during the 15-day celebration. So what were the dishes that had left a deep impression on you during the festival of all food festivals?

For me, there were a few CNY dishes that were close to my heart. Firstly, it was the traditional Lo Hei Yu Sheng. I lost count the number of times I had this this year. I love it not so much for the taste but I really like the feeling of everyone coming together, the warmth and energy level when we toss the colourful vegetables and ingredient for good fortune

I also like having steamboat or hot pot during the festive period with families and friends. There are not fixed ingredients, you can cook anything you like in a steamboat and the soup gets tastier as you cook, eat and mingle. Most importantly to me, a steamboat meal promotes interaction and bonding. 

Another important and meaningful CNY dish is Peng Cai. The dish has gained immense popularity here in recent years. Last year, I featured the dish here on my blog and it has since become one of my most popular recipe posts. This year, I had the chance to sample and learn from my foodie friend and expert Gastronaut the real authentic version of this popular dish.

My regular eating partners had a potluck session at my place and I got to witness first hand how Gastronaut stacked together the 8 layers of goodies which he had cooked earlier using 8 different culinary techniques! I am no expert and not going into the details, you should read his post to find out more about the the secrets of Peng Cai.

It was a great learn-as-you-eat session with amazing food and company! We have to do this again.

* Photography by Mark Ong.
Left to right, top to bottom - Each "dish" was cooked separately using different technique
before they were assembled in the claypot

Ta-da! A very impressive and massive Peng Cai dish by Gastronaut

Baby Sotong in Homemade Soy Sauce by Mark

3 egg spinach by Chef and Sommelier

Roast pork belly by  Chef and Sommelier

Pan-fried water chestnut cake by Gastronaut


  1. Ahhhhh!!!! Poon choy! Had that once, nice...but can't say it's my favourite. For one thing, I did not really like all the roasted stuff being drowned in the gravy - would be much nicer on their own and for another, it does not come cheap, not with all those expensive ingredients and worse if some even more exclusive stuff is added. Never mind, I'd settle for something more affordable. I'm cheapskate... :(

    1. Hi Arthur! I remember you saying the same thing last year. Haha.

      It's true that restaurants add expensive and "lux" items to rip you off! The best is to cook this at home. This version does not use any expensive ingredients like abalones. It emphasises on the cooking techniques and show case its authenticity.

      Try try!

  2. It just makes me drool non stop just looking at this gorgeous delicious food.

  3. Your peng cai looks so nice...not sure when I will have a chance to make it but this definitely taste good!

  4. Alvin, truth be told I have not tried pen cai. Don't think I will like it. I take that plate of spinach anytime.

  5. You guys can cook so well! Everything looks so delicious - what a feast! This year, poon choi is so popular in KL too - all the KL restaurants are starting to serve it as well as selling as takeaway.

  6. Hi Alvin, all good things in one pot sounds good!

  7. Hi Alvin, everything look so good over there if you forget about the cholesterol factor, hehehe!!!

  8. Hi Alvin, what a luxury and mouth-watering peng cai! Simply lip-smacking!!!! Have a nice day and cheers :)

  9. Ohh este plato bello y contundente es muy delicioso me gusta mucho,abrazos.

  10. Mmmmm…I'm blaming you for my constant hunger pangs…it's all amazing looking food pics like these on my instagram feed ! Not that I'l complaining though…. ;-)

    The cracklings on that pork belly looks legit!


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