Year of the Horse

Post date: 06-Jan-2014 23:38:50

1st Feb 2014

Horses may not play a large part in Chinese culture nowadays, but they are a huge part of Chinese history. The horse was domesticated in northeastern China around 5,000 years ago and was an integral part of the power of the “Middle Kingdom”. In fact China harnessed horses and their power effectively over 1,000 years before Europe did, and invented the stirrup, important for cavalry. Defence against the marauding nomadic tribes and communications across their vast expanse was crucial to China’s very survival, and they were so important that figurines of these horses were buried in their masters’ tombs to take to the next life. The horse above is one such example of “grave goods”.

Flying Horse of Gansu, Eastern Han Dynasty, 25-220 AD

To celebrate the incoming Year of the Horse, we will be holding our signature Chinese New Year supper which will include the traditional Chinese New Year dumplings, both sweet and savoury, which are usually a communal family cooking event with everyone sitting round the table, rolling and cooking and chatting. I can tell you that it will be like that here at PSC, with our "family" of volunteers doing exactly that. Also on the menu will be the very special Oyster Pancakes - a speciality of Fujian province (where my family is originally from), and some of my very favourite Chinese dishes.

Our banquet menu will be:

Chinese pickles and Preserved Cucumbers in XO sauce - I remember these from the start of banquets when I was a child

Jiaozi/Guo Tie or Potsticker dumplings - These handmade pork and vegetable dumplings signify family reunion. In northern China families traditionally spend New Year's Eve together preparing the dumplings, which are eaten at midnight. Crescent-shaped Jiaozi are a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of their resemblance to ancient Chinese money (silver ingots).

Pai Gwat Siu Mai - A classic Hong Kong dim sum, steamed spare ribs with black beans

Stir Fried Cucumbers- an unusual dish that’s very popular

Oyster Pancake - My cousin's favourite, I've been trying to work out how to make these for years!

“Delicious” Tofu – this is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes, cooked with chilli bean sauce and spring onions

Spring Onion noodles with Cha Siu - noodles signify longevity - it's important not to cut them! This is one of our most popular dishes

Chinese Aubergines – you’ll probably never have had aubergines like this before, but they are exceptional

Steamed whole Cantonese Seabass The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for wish and abundance, and serving a fish at the end of the meal symbolizes a wish for abundance in the coming year

Tang Yuen these round sweet dumplings are symbolic of family unity and harmony. Tang stands for reunion and yuen means round or complete.

Cost will be £45 of which £35 will go direct to MSF. Please mail us with bookings on