Chinese Winter Solstice (Dong Zhi)

 Dong Zhi is a traditional Chinese end of year festival where the family gathers for heart warming winter food. I love festivals because it means I get to spend a whole day in the kitchen! Some ingredients traditionally used in our family includes arrowroot bulb, dried mushrooms, spinach and pig stomach. The must-have dish is of course sweet dumpling soup. This year, I contributed four dishes to the table.

Sweet Soy Arrowroot
Ingredients:
6 arrowroot bulbs
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
Oil
Method:
Wash arrowroot bulbs and peel off outer layer. Slice each bulb horizontally to four equal parts. Deep fry sliced bulbs in oil until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain oil.
In a bowl, mix soy sauce, mirin, sugar and golden syrup. Heat mixture in a wok and when thickened and slightly caramelised, add cooked bulbs and coat evenly. To serve, stack slices and drizzle with sauce.
Mum’s Meatballs
This adapted recipe was passed down by the women in my family and I ‘stole’ it when I helped out in the kitchen when I was 10 haha. 
Ingredients (makes 20 bite size balls):
300 grams ground pork
1 large potato
1 medium white onion
4 cream crackers
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of pepper
olive oil
Method:
Peel potato and boil till almost soft. Cool and dice into small cubes. Dice white onions too. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, crumble cream crackers into fine powder. In a large bowl, mix ground pork with everything and mix well. Divide mixture equally and form 20 balls.
Leave it to cool in fridge for 30 minutes to help firm up. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Heat oil in skillet and gently add in meatballs. Over medium heat, cook evenly for 8 minutes or until skin is crisp. Transfer meatballs to an oven safe plate and cook in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
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