It’s that time of the year again; Lunar New Year beckons and many Chinese Singaporeans start off the festive celebrations with that scrumptious feast with their families.

While others eat out, many still love eating in; some savoury dishes are specially whipped up just for this annual occasion. It may take some extra effort but the satisfied faces after the meal makes it all worth it.

We ask four Singaporean women to share their favourite family recipes for that prosperous and hearty family meal. 

Chinese new year recipes: Prawns and vegetables1. Prawns with Salted Egg Yolks
by Valerie Kiong, 30, marketing communications officer

Valerie says that she and her family had “tried this dish once in a restaurant and it’s become one of our family favourites – my dad whips it up every Chinese New Year.” This easy-to-cook dish serves four. 

1 bowl self-raising flour
½ bowl water
12 big prawns, shelled and deveined
Oil, for deep frying
3 tbsp butter
4 cooked salted egg yolks, crumbled
1 chilli padi, cut into 3 pieces
1/4 bowl curry leaves
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
3 tbsp evaporated milk 


  1. Mix the self-raising fl our and water to make a smooth batter.
  2. Dip the prawns into the batter. Deep-fry them until golden. Drain on kitchen towels and set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat the butter until it foams. Add the salted egg yolks and stir constantly.
  4. When the butter bubbles, add the chilli padi and curry leaves. Stir-fry for 1min.
  5. Add the sugar, fish sauce and evaporated milk, and mix well.
  6. Add the cooked prawns. Mix well and serve hot.


2. Stewed chicken with abalone
by Hellene Fok, 52, marketing manager


“Everyone asks for this dish during Chinese New Year,” says Hellene. The easy dish “takes less than an hour to whip up”. Hellene offers one tip: She replaces the vegetable oil with oil from frying chicken skin to make the dish even more flavourful. This recipe serves four. 

2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 slices ginger
1 chicken, skin removed and cut into pieces
2 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp dark soya sauce (optional)
1 can abalone, thinly sliced; set aside the brine 1 can button mushrooms, halved
1 can bamboo shoots, sliced
3 Stewed Chicken With Abalone 


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Over medium heat, saute the ginger until fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken and stir-fry until golden brown. Add the oyster sauce and dark soya sauce and stir-fry for 1min.
  3. Add the abalone brine, button mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Cover and simmer for 20min over low heat. Add the abalone and mix well. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the coriander before serving.


3. Spinach with abalone
by April Hoon, 23, marketing executive


April describes the dish as her family’s “Chinese New Year staple – we love how the abalone adds a touch of luxe to an otherwise plain vegetable.” Serves four. 

1 can abalone
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g Chinese spinach
2 tbsp oyster sauce
200ml water 


  1. Place the unopened can of abalone in a pot of boiling water and cook covered for 30min. Turn off the flame and leave it in the hot water for at least an hour or until ready to serve.
  2. Add the vegetable oil to another pot of boiling water.
  3. Cook the Chinese spinach in the boiling water for 5min. Remove from heat and drain on a sieve. Push a ladle against the vegetables on the sieve to remove excess water. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Slice the abalone and place it around the Chinese spinach.
  5. Mix the oyster sauce with the water and pour over the vegetables.


4. Ngoh Hiang (Five spice rolls)
by Veronica Chew-Ridd, 54, stay-at-home mum

Veronica says that she makes “this family favourite for special occasions and Chinese New Year.” With her grandmother’s recipe, Veronica would make rolls with 2kg of minced meat and distribute them to neighbours and relatives. This recipe makes 8 rolls. 


For the Filling
500g minced pork or chicken
350g prawns, shelled and minced
300g shallots, finely chopped
300g water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp white pepper
4 tsp cornflour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 sheets beancurd skin, cut into 15cm by 18cm rectangular sheets 1 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little water until smooth Sweet chilli sauce, to dip 


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling.
  2. Place 1 tbsp of filling along the longer edge of a sheet of beancurd skin. Fold in the sides and wrap it into a roll. Seal the ends with the cornflour mixture. Repeat for the rest of the beancurd skins and filling.
  3. Deep-fry until golden brown.

Tip: To chill or freeze the rolls, steam for 6min before cooling and storing them. Deepfry before serving. 

This article was originally published in SimplyHer February 2011.