I normally like to cook Valentine’s day dinner at home, it is simply because the restaurants are all very crowded, difficult to book a seat, and also at home, you can chat over the ‘romantic’ table for as long as you want. :))
Well, then the task is to make the meal ‘romantic’, not only the taste, also the presentation, and the combination, and it has been to good with wine — I guess many people would like to have sip of wine to accompany the romantic dinner. :)) So the taste is supposed to be ‘soft’ and ‘gentle’, for instance, too spicy is probably not a very good option; the presentation is supposed to ‘warm’ and not too ‘plain’; and also you’d like all the dishes to combine well with each other. In addition, I guess we all try to avoid to make something difficult to eat, for example, peel things with hands, and to avoid something strong smell, like garlic. :)) — Oh, of all, it should not be too complicated, you don’t want to bring the kitchen smell with you to the romantic dining table.
In China, as I mentioned before, people like to play with ‘words’, when come to food, many people like to pick up the good ‘names’ of the dishes for special occasions. For example, many would like to have chicken wings dish for Valentine’s day, because it is called ‘Bi Yi Shuang Fei’, literally means that ‘flying together with wings next to each other’, which is a phrase means a couple accompany each other building a good life or so.
So here is one of my meal combinations, they are actually quite simple — I feel a bit shy to call it a ‘formal’ romantic dinner. :)) As I mentioned in one of the culture note, in China, especially having meals in the restaurants or during the big gathering time at home, rice is not always served along with the dishes, it is particularly the case for people who tend to drink (no matter alcohol or soft drink). So for this meal for two, I would cook four dishes at least.
Normally I like to make things like lobster for this kind of occasion, but recently I couldn’t find lobster in the normal supermarkets anymore. So I went to the beef and fish dish. The meal is consisted with a meat or fish dish, an aubergine dish, a green vegetable dish and a soup (if in summer, I would make a salad instead of the soup.)
For the meat or fish dish, somehow I always think a bit sweet and sour is more ‘romantic’, so sweet and sour meat balls or fish are both good choice. I made with beef mince balls, because — again, the round shape in Chinese pronunciation also can mean ‘gathering’, ‘satisfactory’ (as in ‘Yuan Yuan Man Man or Tuan Tuan Yuan Yuan). As for the others, they are ‘crispy fried aubergine’, stir fried bak choy and marrow and prawn soup. (This choice of the soup is because of my husband’s preference.:) )
The mince ball and aubergine dishes can be a bit ‘oily’, but it can be balanced with simple stir fried bak choy and clear marrow soup. All of the dishes are good to go red wine. For the recipes, here are the links: Chinese sweet and sour mince balls; Crispy fried aubergine (V); Marrow, prawn and ‘Fen si’ (Cellophane noodles) clear soup
The only recipe that I haven’t shared here is the stir fried bak choy, which I will share here tomorrow.
Hope you have a great day! :)