How lifestyle influencers handle CNY leftovers

CNY leftovers? We ask lifestyle influencers known for their flair in the kitchen about how they handle excess food.


Most Chinese buy sweet glutinous rice cakes (or nian gao) and not many will actually eat it like that. And often, it will either get all mouldy and get tossed away.

"For me, (I'll) fry up a delicious sweet popiah treat.

"The simplest way is to slice the cake into wedges and coat them in a thin pancake-like batter. Then fry them till crispy on the outside and creamy and gooey on the inside.

Or wrap these glutinous rice cake wedges with small pieces of yam or sweet potato, wrap in popiah skin and fry them till crisp. I actually have a recipe on my blog that shares how this is done.

"And for any leftover Mandarin oranges, peel them into segments and parboil them in hot water for 20 seconds. Then remove the membrane from the flesh.

"Use the flesh to make a jam or fruit preserve, which can be stored for a longer period of time."



I dislike having and keeping leftovers but it's inevitable sometimes. So I've come up with simple ideas to make leftovers appetising.

"I turn leftover rice into fried rice and shape them into round balls like onigiri. Or I fry up an omelette and make an omurice.

"The best way to use leftover cooked meat for me is to slice or shred them and toss into a salad for lunch the next day."



Due to the family hotpot tradition, the leftovers I tend to have on hand are minced pork, prawns, crab, sliced fish and an assortment of vegetables.

"I try to come up with fresh new unexpected ways of using these ingredients in the meals to follow.

"One of my favourite ways is to turn them into fillings for dumplings like wonton and gyoza.

"It's a wonderful way of stretching a modest quantity of protein into something substantial, satisfying and versatile. Gyoza, for instance, can be served boiled, pan-fried or even deep-fried.



One thing that many people throw away during Chinese New Year and other holidays are leftover bones, but they still hold so much flavour and can be made into delicious stock.

"Any kind of bones can be used - pork, chicken, turkey, even fish. I like roasting the bones before making a stock with them so that the stock takes on a deeper, richer flavour.

"One way to use up all the raw salmon left over from yusheng is to turn it into gravlax (a Nordic cured-fish dish), and bear in mind that when eating raw salmon, it should be sashimi-grade due to food safety concerns. Sashimi-grade seafood can be purchased from sushi restaurants or online websites like Zairyo."



For leftovers, I prefer roast meats. Sounds barbaric, but the suckling pig head is wonderful for making assam cai buay. Any roast or stewed duck, chicken or pork is also good.

"Just put it all in a pot, throw in Chinese mustard, lots of tomatoes, tamarind juice, assam keping (sour fruit) and red chillies and you get a very rich stew with enough tang to keep it from getting too jelak (cloying).

This article was first published on Feb 18, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.